Gordon blames Duterte for 'delay' in Senate probe on pandemic deals, Pharmally

Job Manahan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 04 2021 12:48 PM | Updated as of Nov 04 2021 04:40 PM

Gordon cites Duterte's admission of corruption

MANILA (UPDATE) — Sen. Richard Gordon on Thursday blamed President Rodrigo Duterte for the supposed "delay" in the Senate's investigation into government's COVID-19 pandemic deals after he barred executive officials from attending the hearings. 

In his opening speech at the 14th hearing of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee investigation, panel chair Gordon said Duterte's order makes it difficult for lawmakers to look into the allegedly anomalous transactions. 

"Pinapaalam ko lang po sa mga mamamayan natin na talagang kung may delay ang may kasalanan po ay ang Pangulo ng Pilipinas, hindi po tayo," said Gordon. 

(I would like to inform our fellow Filipinos that if there is indeed a delay in the investigations, it is the fault of the President of the Philippines)

"Kung walang haharap na mga opisyales ng ehekutibo, mahihirapan kaming makalakap ng mga datos. Tatagal, at kahit may kahirapan at katagalan, kung talagang walang kooperasyon ang mga kinauukulan ay talagang talo ang tao. May karapatan ang tao [malaman] kung ano ang katiwalian," he added. 

(If there is no one that would appear from the executive branch, it will be hard for us to get data. This would drag on and because it is hard to investigate because of the absence of these officials, the Filipino public is on the losing end. They have the right to know where the corruption lies.)

Gordon also emphasized that the Senate is ready to file "something" in the Supreme Court that would question the President's order. 


Aside from this, Gordon also said that while Duterte "hates" corruption, he admitted doing so during the Founding Anniversary of the Philippine Chinese Charitable Association, Inc. on June 28, 2017. 

He said this after Duterte touted this week that he became president because he was not corrupt. 

Screen grab from Gordon's presentation
Screen grab from Gordon's presentation

The lawmaker then read what Duterte said during the event: "I hate corruption. Hindi ako nagmalinis, marami rin akong ninakaw pero naubos na. Corruption is really out during my term."

(I am not clean, I have also stolen a lot of money but it has already been spent.)

"Ang isasagot ko lang po ay napaka-simple lang... Inamin niyo po 'yan, admission of self-interest... kayo na ang umamin na kayo ang nagnakaw sa gobyerno. Hindi po kami ang nagsabi niyan. Kayo ang nagsabi," Gordon said. 

(My answer is simple: You admitted yourself that you stole from government. We did not say it, you said it.)

"Basta lumalabas lang ang inyong timon sa mga tao ninyo, kayo po ang nag-appoint... wala pa po kaming kino-conclude, ang sinasabi lang namin kailangan magpaliwanag kayo," he added.

(Well your response is revealing regarding who you appointed. We did not conclude anything. We just said you should explain.)

Duterte in early October said he signed a memorandum prohibiting Cabinet members from attending the Senate probe on the Pharmally deals because they supposedly do not have the time to participate.

The President also accused the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee of blatant disrespect of resource persons.

Shortly after Duterte's directive came out, the Philippine Bar Association said the move “upsets our system of checks and balances and transgresses the doctrine of separation of powers among the 3 branches of government.”

Senators on Oct. 6 reeled with the absence of government officials in the executive branch, and focused instead on the Pharmally executives. 

The Senate panel is investigating Pharmally after records showed that the budget department's procurement service awarded billions of pesos worth of government contracts to the company that only had less than a million pesos in paid-up capital.

The government denies there was overpricing and said the deals were above board.

The panel has so far recommended the filing of various charges against Pharmally's officers, Chinese businessman and former presidential economic adviser Michael Yang, and former budget Undersecretary Christopher Lao, among others, due to the allegedly anomalous transactions.


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