House panel to conclude probe into COVID-19 supply controversy; denies pro-gov't bias

Published October 4, 2021, 11:02 AM

by Ben Rosario

The House Committee on Good Government held on Monday, Oct. 4 its last hearing on the motu propio inquiry into allegations of overpricing of medical supplies procured by government amid allegations that it has been bias in favor of state agencies and the embattled supplier, Pharmally Pharmaceuticals Corp.

Committee chairman and DIWA Partylist Rep. Michael Aglipay said the House panel is ready to submit its findings on the controversy as he vehemently denied the allegations.

“As chairman, I am always for the truth, nothing else, and if there is evidence to pin the high officials of government, then we shall strongly recommend charges against them before the appropriate courts or tribunals,” he declared as he opened the proceedings.

He stated: “ I assure you, the Filipino people, that I cannot be bought. Hindi po ako nabibili (I cannot be bought).”

“All I have is the mandate bestowed upon me by the Republic of the Philippines, and the trust and confidence from the Honorable Speaker Lord Allan Velasco, to be an independent chairman of the House Blue Ribbon Commitee,” the administration lawmaker stressed.

As he defended the House panel, however, Aglipay, who referred his committee as the Blue Ribbon body of the Lower House, took a dig at the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee.

“The House of Representatives is not in the business of arresting unwilling resource persons. We do not resort to bullying and intimidation,” he stated.

“The House Blue Ribbon Committee has and will always be for freedom of speech, justice and fair play,” said Aglipay.

It will be recalled that the Senate blue ribbon panel has placed in its custody Pharmally Director Linconn Ong for allegedly evading questions and for refusing to cooperate in its probe into the COVID-19 supply overpricing scandal.

The Senate committee chaired by Sen. Richard Gordon has also subpoenaed Pharmally executive Krizle Grace Mago when she failed to show up in its hearing.

Mago was expected to appear before the House good government panel since she is currently under the protective custody of the Lower Chamber.

By cooperating with the Lower House, Mago dodged possible arrest for ignoring the subpoena issued by Speaker Lord Allan Velasco and Aglipay on Sept. 27.