Senate Blue Ribbon Committee Chairman Richard Gordon chided President Rodrigo Duterte for asking Filipinos to support his senatorial bid when he failed his countrymen as chief executive.
At the resumption of the Senate probe into the so-called Pharmally scandal on Friday, Dec. 3, Gordon fired off a litany of criticisms against Duterte, assailing him for allegedly hoodwinking Filipinos into believing in several of his campaign promises such as putting an end to the problem, asserting Philippine rights over the West Philippine sea and eliminating corruption.
A day before the hearing, Duterte threw insults at Gordon during a Zamboanga City meeting with the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict.
The chief executive likened Gordon to a “penguin” as he revived anew the alleged Commission on Audit disallowance of funds when the senator was still the administrator of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority.
“How dare you to again ask for the vote of the Filipino people when you failed them,” stated Gordon who had been the object of Duterte’s verbal attacks since he initiated the Blue Ribbon panel probe into the alleged anomalous procurement by government of billions of pesos in medical supplies from Pharmally Pharmaceuticals.
Gordon noted that it was Duterte who appointed personalities who are now objects of the highly suspicious Pharmally supply transactions.
One of them, former Undersecretary Lloyd Christopher Lao has been ordered arrested by the Senate.
“Iyan ang dapat ninyo maipaliwanag sa taumbayan lalo na at gusto ninyo kaming turuan mga senador kung paano maging senador (You should explain that to the people especially since you wanted to teach us how to behave as senators),” Gordon said.
He said the 2022 senatorial hopeful of PDP-Laban party should know that the senators are neither foul-mouthed nor use abusive words in public.
“Hindi po kami marunong magmura ng Santo Papa. Hindi po kami marunong manghalay ng mga kababaihan. Wala kayong po kayong maituturo sa amin, (We do not curse the Pope. We don’t abuse women. You have nothing to teach us),” Gordon said.
“Pinangako ninyo mauubos ang drugs. Maraming naubos pawang mga mahihirap na walang mahawakan na hanapbuhay dahil kulang kayo sa pabigay ng hanapbuhay. (You promised to end the drug problem. Instead, what ended were the lives of many, mostly the poor who were jobless because you cannot give them employment.),” the former Olongapo City mayor said.
“So do not lecture us na kayo ay mas magaling na tao kesa mga senador. Ang pinakamaliit na tao mas magaling sa inyo sa prinsipyo. (So do not lecture us that you are better than senators. The simplest individuals are more principled than you),” Gordon stressed.
Duterte and Gordon have been at each other’s throat as a result of the prolonged Pharmally scandal probe that had linked several officials of the Duterte administration and resulted in the arrest of several of the firm’s uncooperative executives.
During the hearing, Gordon said Pharmally’s Dohit Dhargani had even implied he is untouchable when he and sister, Twinkle, tried to escape the country from the airport in Davao City, the turf of the Duterte family.
“Nakarenta ng P2.5 million na Lear jet na diyan pa niya ipinadaan sa Davao. Parang sinasabi niya, dito kami ay protektado ng Pangulo. (He was able to lease a P2.5 million Lear jet from Davao. It is as if he is saying that we enjoy the president’s protection here),” Gordon said.
The chief investigator of the blue ribbon panel also lambasted government’s handling of the COVID-19 situation, noting that the country is the top borrower of loans to help address the pandemic but “ranks last in pandemic response.” He pointed out that Duterte resorts to ‘ad hominem’ remarks in responding to issues raised during the Senate inquiry.
“Namemersonal kayo dahil wala na kayong masabi sapagkat kayo, nag-iimbento kayo. Kaya kayo nanalo sa presidente kayo ay isang huwad na nagpapanggap na isang bayani at binola ninyo ang mga tao. (You resort to personal responses because you have nothing to say, you make things up. The reason you won as president is because you are a fraud who pretended to be a hero and had deceived the public),’ Gordon said.
Friday’s hearing was the 16th Blue Ribbon Committee proceedings into the probe of the P42-billion COVID-19 funds that the Department of Health and the Procurement Service-Department of Budget and Management spent at the height of the pandemic in 2020.