Opposition coalition 1Sambayan is pushing for an investigation into the Duterte administration’s “web of corruption” that stemmed from the anomalies in the procurement of billions’ worth of “overpriced” medical supplies and equipment during the pandemic.
In a statement posted on 1Sambayan’s Facebook page on Wednesday, September 1, retired Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales said that the Philippines “deserve(s) no less than a fully transparent investigation in earnest into what appears to be a criminal assault on our democratic institution.”
“We deserve, if warranted, a comite de condenar, not a comite de arreglo or absuelto,” she added.
The 1Sambayan lead convenor said this as congressional inquiries and investigations into the Commission on Audit (COA) reports about the P67.3 billion worth of “deficiencies” in the Department of Health’s (DOH) handling of COVID-19 funds revealed links that can be traced to Presiden Duterte’s allies.
“The alleged irregularities in the award of P8.7 billion worth of contracts that funded Bayanihan 1 and 2 laws spawn the appalling prospect of seeing a web of corruption,” she added.
News reports said that of the P67.3 billion, P40 billion was transferred to the Department of Budget and Management-Procurement Service (DBM-PS), which acted as a one-stop-shop for government agencies during the pandemic, to procure medical supplies.
Of that amount, the DBM-PS, which was formally headed by Senator Bong Go’s Palace aide, Christopher Lloyd Lao, awarded P8.6 billion to Pharmally Pharmaceuticals, a company registered only in September 2019 that has a capitalization of P625,000.
Six months after its registration, the pharmaceutical company bagged the government contract for what senators said were overpriced medical supplies.
Carpio-Morales described the COA reports’ “alarming revelations” and said that the link between Duterte’s former economic adviser, Michael Yang, and Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp. “sparked still another controversy about the use or misuse of public funds.”