President Duterte in panic mode?

Published August 31, 2021, 11:30 AM

by Mario Casayuran

President Duterte is in a panic mode, Senator Panfilo M. Lacson on Tuesday, August 31 said.

And could this be attributed to the approaching 2022 elections or the on-going Senate probe into the multi-billion-peso mess at the Procurement Service of Department of Budget and Management (PS-DBM)?

Lacson did not say it but he emphasized that the Senate would not flinch on the questionable purchase of P42 billion worth of COVID 19-related health supplies by PS-DBM.

‘’There is a lot more to discover and pursue so that all those responsible for this abominable crime against the Filipino people who continue to suffer amid the pandemic will be exposed and charged in court at the proper time,’’ he said.

Senate Minority Leader Franklin M. Drilon had said the Senate Blue Ribbon committee is determined to know who are the backers of Lloyd Christopher Lao, resigned DBM Undersecretary and head of PS-DBM, who handled the purchase of these supplies financed by the COVID 19 response fund of DOH.

Lacson appeared determined to run as president in the 2022 national elections with Senate President Vicente C. Sotto III, chairman of the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC).

The National Executive Committee of the Partido Demokratikong Pilipino (PDP)-Laban party had endorsed the Senator Christopher ‘Bong’ Go-President Duterte presidential and vice presidential tandem in the forthcoming national elections.

The Lacson diatribe was triggered by a statement of President Duterte noticing his (Lacson’s) hairstyle.

‘’I don’t know what President Duterte is talking about when he commented on my hairstyle. I haven’t changed the way I comb my hair, since long before he had lost his mind,’’ Lacson said.

‘’But his insulting rebuke only shows that he and Senator (Christopher) Bong Go are one and the same, for better or for worse, in sickness and in health. They even probably have a joint bank account,’’ he added.

In a statement, Lacson said: ‘’Many people I talked to have noticed his incoherence and senseless ad libs even in his formal addresses to the nation including the State of the Nation Address (SONA).’’

The statement further stated:

‘’That said, it is not difficult to think that he is in panic mode and is attempting as he has already done earlier to discourage the Senate from pursuing our investigation in the highly anomalous procurement of overpriced medical supplies that is starting to knock on the doors of Malacañang.

‘’The video showing Michael Yang, a Chinese national who had a signed contract as a presidential consultant, receiving a one-peso-a-year remuneration from the government and very casually introducing high officials of the controversial Pharmally Corp. is telling to say the least.’’

Senate Minority Leader Franklin M. Drilon had asked the Commission on Audit (COA) to conduct a special audit of PS-DBM to unravel questionable contracts to winning bidders, including Pharmally which had a total of P8.7 billion contracts although its paid up capital is only more than P600,000.

The Senate Blue Ribbon committee chaired by Senator Richard J. Gordon resumes its investigation into the PS-DBM mess on September 7.