Senator Richard Gordon on Tuesday called out “trolls” at the resumption of the Senate blue ribbon committee’s hearing into the government’s alleged anomalous procurement of COVID-19 pandemic supplies from Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corporation.
In his opening statement before proceeding with the 12th hearing of the panel, Gordon issued a “shoutout” to the unidentified critics he said are watching their committee hearings online and are very active in social media trying to destroy his and other senators’ credibility.
“’Shoutout’ po sa mga trolls na nanonood at nagrereview ng mga script nila. Alam po naming hanapbuhay niyo iyan at ginagawa nyo po iyan para kumita para inyong mga mahal sa buhay, pero sana po ay magbagong buhay na po kayo (Shoutout to all the trolls who are watching and reviewing their scripts. We all know that it is part of your job and you are only doing that because you want to earn for your family and loved ones. But I hope you’d change the way you live),” Gordon said during the hearing.
“Marami pong trabahong marangal (There are other decent jobs),” the senator reiterated.
The Senate blue ribbon panel’s investigation has earned the support of many sectors, particularly from the medical sector who were present during the virtual hearing.
Gordon said he is grateful for the overwhelming outpour of support for the “search for truth” and those who have been eagerly monitoring the developments of the Senate probe.
“Hinihikayat po natin ang lahat, upang malaman ang katotohanan at mapanagot ang mga may kasalanan, at maibalik ang perang nawaldas at ninakaw ng mga mandarambong (We are encouraging everyone, so that we would learn the truth and exact acountability from those who are liable and to regain the money stolen by plunderers),” he said.
“I am overwhelmed by the statements and expression of support by the many medical societies and disciplines. With your help and vigilance, I can assure you of our part in order to exact accountability among the public officials (involved),” he also said.
“We hear you loud and clear and we support your activism, not because it favors us but it favors the right of the people to be heard your grievances,” he added.
The Senate blue ribbon committee has been investigating the government’s procurement of medical goods, including substandard face shields that were deemed overprice, at the height of the pandemic last year.
Senators have also repeatedly questioned the Department of Health’s (DOH) transfer of P42-billion to the Procurement Service of the Department of Budget and Management’s Procurement Service (DBM-PS) for the procurement of COVID-19 supplies.
A portion of the amount, around P8.6-billion went to Pharmally Corp. which was awarded a contract for some COVID-19 supplies despite it being undercapitalized.
“Our inquiry in aid of legislation reveals unconscionable, unabashed, and unethical circumventions of our republican way of governance,” Gordon said.
“Na diskurbe po nating inuna ang kumita at makakuha ng kumisyon, o kickbacks, (we discovered that they prioritized earnings, to get commission, and kickbacks) instead of coming up with the right way to quell the pandemic,” he lamented.