President Duterte has made it clear that he "doesn't care" about what could happen to controversial firm Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp.
This, depsite the company's supposed connection with businessman Michael Yang, Duterte's former economic adviser.
"Wala akong pakialam diyan (I don't care about) Pharmally...You can crumple ang (that) Pharmally, wala kaming pakialam diyan. Basta ‘yang pag-avail namin --- ang pakialam namin nag-order kami, dumating, tama ‘yung nag-order, tapos ang presyo negotiated (We don't care about it. What we cared about is that we availed, we ordered, the goods came, the order was correct, and the price was negotiated)," Duterte said Tuesday morning, Sept. 14 during the belated airing of Monday night's "Talk to the People" public briefing.
The Chief Executive was referring to the government's procurement of billions worth of personal protective equipment or PPEs via Pharmally last year amid the raging coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
The Senate Blue Ribbon Committee chaired by Senator Richard Gordon has been probing the alleged overpriced purchase of these PPEs and inviting Cabinet officials for questioning.
"Maganda ‘yan (That's good) and I would suggest that you do it diretso-diretso (continuously). Sagasaan na ninyo ’yung sagasaan, ‘yung Pharmally puwede na ninyong watak-watakin ‘yan at (Trample on Pharmally all you want, rip it apart and) you would do what you want kasi kami dito tapos na (because as for us, we're already done)," Duterte said.
He said the executive branch has already fulfilled its role in expeditiously purchasing the needed PPEs in a way that was approved by the lawmakers themselves when they passed Republic Act (RA) No. 11469 or the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act (Bayanihan 1).
"I used the Bayanihan 1. Eh sa Bayanihan 1 kayo ang nagbigay ng (In Bayanihan 1, you yourselves gave the) authority ng (to the) executive department even to disregard the procurement law...Sabi niyo (You told us) you can take whatever measures for the fastest delivery of the things that we need. So iyon ang ginagawa namin tapos ngayon (That's what we did and now) you are dwelling on the procurement law in asking the officials to explain of their actuations," Duterte said.
"Ngayon nag-order kami (Now we ordered), delivered and inspected if it was really the order --- the things that we ordered according to specifications and it was, then we paid. We did not shell out anything before delivery. Para sa akin tapos na kami. Iyang Pharmally ninyo pati droga bahala kayo (We’re done as far as I'm concerned. You do whatever you want with Pharmally and the drugs issue)," he told Senator.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque in a virtual press briefing at past noon Tuesday reiterated that the Commission on Audit (COA) didn't find any hint of corruption in the procurement process for the medical supplies.
Roque has gone to great lengths in the past to show that the government's purchase of PPEs through Pharmally was above-board.
As for Yang, Duterte has has consistently said that he isn't involved with corruption and that he's simply a businessman who wants to earn a profit.