Gordon welcomes medical sector's support for Senate probe on Pharmally deals

Published October 9, 2021, 4:38 PM

by Vanne Elaine Terrazola

Senator Richard Gordon on Saturday, October 9, welcomed the manifesto of support from leaders of the medical and health sectors for the Senate’s ongoing investigation into the alleged anomalies in the government’s procurement deals for the country’s COVID-19 response.

Senator Richard Gordon (Henzberg Austria/Senate PRIB)

“Our medical and healthcare professionals have long suffered during this pandemic, and we cannot stress enough that they are our biggest heroes for all the risks and hardships they have to deal with in taking care of our sick people,” Gordon said in a statement.

“I join them in their collective call of righteous indignation to the government’s poor governance and slow response to curb the spread of COVID-19 that took the lives of many people, including among the healthcare workers,” he added.

“We must continue helping boost the morale of our medical frontliners. Without them, we will surely have perished as a people,” he further said.

Gordon, who chairs the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee tackling the issue, noted that “more and more people are now speaking out and standing up” against the alleged corruption in the government’s response to the pandemic

He previously cited the call expressed by business groups and the academe for the cooperation of government officials with their panel’s marathon hearings.

In a seven-page statement published on Friday, October 8, past presidents and leaders of medical societies said they support the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee in its investigation on the Department of Health’s (DOH) procurement of personal protective equipment (PPE), test kits and other medical supplies thru the Department of Budget and Management’s Procurement Service (DBM-PS).

The manifesto of support was signed by over 100 health professionals, which include former DOH secretary Dr. Esperanza Cabral and public health advocate Dr. Tony Leachon, among others.

“We support the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee in its investigation to seek the truth and crush corruption that has severely crippled our society. Public office is public trust. Public officials should be accountable to the people,” they said.

This comes after President Duterte barred Cabinet officials from participating in the hearings and instructed the police and the military not to assist the Senate in implementing its arrest orders against resource persons cited for contempt.

Senators have questioned the allegedly irregular award of multi-billion peso contracts to Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corporation, which was found to have links with Duterte’s former economic adviser Michael Yang.

They also flagged the “overpricing” of medical supplies bought from Pharmally and likewise accused the administration of giving undue preference for the foreign firm over local manufacturers.