Senate Blue Ribbon panel thanks groups for supporting probe on Pharmally scandal

Published October 13, 2021, 5:45 PM

by Mario Casayuran

The Senate Blue Ribbon Committee today October 13 thanked various sectors and groups for their support to its investigation into the alleged anomalous multi-billion-peso procurement deals that marred the government’s response to COVID-19 pandemic.

Senator Richard J. Gordon, committee chairman, said the outpouring of public support has bolstered the Senate’s resolve to continue finding out the truth behind the scandalous deals with a private supplier, Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corporation.

“We thank members of the healthcare sector, various universities and alumni groups, the academe, the Catholic Church, and reputable lawyers’ organizations for speaking out against the corruption plaguing this administration,” he said.

“Your Senate is more than determined to get the bottom of this anomaly. The Filipino people have long suffered during this pandemic, and the government owes them an explanation where the public funds for COVID-19 response went,” he added.

Scores of statements of support started pouring in after President Duterte ordered his Cabinet officials and their employees not to attend the Senate’s investigation and for the law enforcement authorities not to cooperate in serving its arrest orders.

Former health secretaries, notably Esperanza Cabral and Manuel Dayrit, public health advocate Tony Leachon, and various respectable medical societies have called on President Duterte to allow the Senate to exercise its oversight function unhampered.

Among other medical and allied/paramedical organizations who signed the petition include Makati Medical Center, Philippine College of Physicians, Philippine Pediatric Society, Private Hospitals Association of the Philippines, and others.

Business associations, such as the Management Association of the Philippines, Makati Business Club, and Shareholders Association of the Philippines, have also called on the Duterte administration to cooperate with the Senate’s investigation.

University systems under the De La Salle, St. Paul University in Manila, and several alumni groups of Ateneo de Manila and University of the Philippines have also spoken up against attempts to derail the Senate investigation.

Even the Integrated Bar of the Philippines and Philippine Bar Association (PBA) have also expressed grave concern over Duterte’s directives, which they said, violate the separation of powers among executive and legislative branches of government.

“The Senate has the power to enforce its own processes in accordance with the Rules of the Senate governing its legislative investigations which is recognized under our Constitution and settled jurisprudence,” the PBA said in an official statement.

Gordon, a lawyer, underscored the importance of the Senate’s vast scope of legislative inquiry, which is as important as its lawmaking powers, in finding out how the government spent public funds for COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are getting closer to the very meat of these shenanigans. We will pursue our investigation without relent, and run after those who deliberately lied and evaded our questions. They will have to answer to our people,” he said.

Since the start of the Senate blue ribbon committee’s investigation, Gordon and other senators have been subjected to incessant attacks from President Duterte, his minions and their paid trolls to discredit them and distract them from investigating.