More doctors urge Duterte to stop blocking pandemic spending probe

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 12 2021 05:45 PM | Updated as of Oct 12 2021 06:28 PM

MANILA - A former president of the Philippine College of Physicians on Tuesday said more doctors have expressed commitment to sign a collective statement on their call for President Rodrigo Duterte to not obstruct the ongoing Senate Blue Ribbon probe on Pharmally’s alleged overpriced supply deal with government.

“We are trying to appeal to the president na as the real leader of the country, he should be on top of this. Yung mga may kasalanan dapat napo-prosecute, 'yung mga accountable, napupunish,” Dr. Eugene Ramos, past president of the PCP, said.

Ramos said there is now a groundswell of support from other doctors. Ramos said they started the statement with just the past presidents of the PCP.

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“But the moment that we affixed our signatures and routed this, marami ang nagsaabi na hindi kaso ako past president pwede ba akong sumali. Now we are about 300 over. We are now expanding this to more doctors kasi nagre-request sila that they would like to sign. It’s an individual commitment,” said Ramos.

At least five former health secretaries, the PCP, and various medical groups are urging Duterte to stop blocking the Senate’s probe into alleged anomalies in the government’s purchase of COVID-19 supplies.
 
“The fact that 5 past DOH secretaries have joined, the last one is Pauline Ubial, is already a manifestation na people are willing now to really come out and affix their signature to something, it’s an issue,” he said.

Duterte maintained that the government’s transaction with Pharmally is above board, but issued a memorandum prohibiting his aides from participating in the Senate probe.

“Hindi na talaga tama na no less than the president is defending Pharmally. I think umaabot na tayo sa tipping point na sinasabi na kung tahimik ka dati hindi ka na pwedeng tumahimik ngayon,” Ramos said.

(It’s not right that no less than the president is defending Pharmally. I think we’ve reached the tipping point that says if you were quiet in the past, you cannot just stay silent now.)

Duterte said that he was not opposed to the Senate probe but disapproved of how the public inquiries have interfered with the work of cabinet members required to attend, including those related to the pandemic response.

“We are focusing on the issue, which is basically the corruption. Hindi na nga ibig sabihin na we were surprised there was corruption. Ang point namin nandyan na ang corruption pero napakalaki na. Palaki ng palaki parang nobody is able to contain it. Nobody is able to control it, and nobody seems to be accountable,” said Ramos.

(We were no longer surprised that there was corruption. But our point is its there and its getting bigger. It’s getting bigger and its looks like nobody is able to contain it. Nobody is able to control it, and nobody seems to be accountable.) 

Ramos said they are making noise now out of helplessness.

“There comes a point na hindi nila akalain na may hangganan. They think they can go on and on and fool people for a long time. I think narating na yung hangganan. This has to end. We have to stop this,” he said.