CEBU CITY–Political noise.
This was how Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Martin Andanar described the controversies hounding the administration particularly the Senate investigation involving Pharmally.
“We all understand that it is election season, so there will always be noise politically,” said Andanar, who was in Cebu last Friday, October 22, as part of the Cebu-leg of the “Duterte Legacy Caravan.”
The caravan was aimed at informing the public of the accomplishments of the Duterte administration.
In a huddle with Cebu media, Andanar said the questions raised on Pharmally were all answered and cleared by Commission on Audit (COA).
The Senate Blue Ribbon Committee chaired by Senator Richard Gordon has been investigating Pharmally after COA flagged a P42-billion transaction involving the company for lack of supporting documents.
Andanar claimed that COA chairman Michael Aguinaldo has already cleared the Pharmally, saying it was normal for the agency to flag certain transactions when supporting documents are lacking.
“It is our responsibility in government to reply to the AOM (audit observation memorandum) and also to follow the recommended steps to satisfy the question of COA. And we do that, we comply,” Andanar said.
“But we all know that it is already campaign season and it is not only an ordinary election but it’s a Presidential election. It is part of our democracy then we just answer them,” he added.
Andanar said that despite the controversies, Duterte’s approval rating remained high.
Andanar added it was also not difficult to let the public know of the government’s accomplishments “because they are tangible.”
“The people can see it, can feel and can see it. We can see that he President’s approval rating is still high at 70 percent,” said Andanar.
What is happening in the Senate is part of the check and balance, Andanar pointed out.
“It is okay. It is part of democracy. Again as I said, I am a technocrat. I joined the government with my technical skills and intend to exit as a technocrat. I will not ruin my reputation by lying or by saying fake news or by doing black propaganda because that is not my personality,” he said.