Senate has done a 'damn good job' in exposing Pharmally issue, says 1Sambayan convenor

As far as 1Sambayan convenor Etta Rosales is concerned, the "good word" from the Senate's investigations on the alleged corruption in the government's purchase of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) supplies last year must be spread among Filipinos.

1Sambayan convenor Etta Rosales (Screenshot from Zoom meeting)

Speaking in a virtual press conference on the eve of the 49th anniversary of the late former President Ferdinand Marcos's declaration of martial law, Rosales praised the Senate for its recent efforts, saying it has done a "damn good job" in exposing the Pharmally issue to the public.

"What the Senate is doing right now, wonderful (garbled), and then the COA (Commission of Audit), with Duterte, what they're doing right now, we should also be doing but this time to the people, empowering the people, and telling them the truth by empowering them," she said on Monday, Sept. 20.

"Ang masasabi ko lamang (What I can say is), the COA and then the Senate have done a damn good job in exposing this Pharmally and of course media has helped also. I think this has to be consolidated and spread, the good word must be spread," added the former Akbayan Party-List representative.

Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp. was awarded with pandemic response contracts worth nearly P8.68 billion in 2020, or when the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) first emerged in the Philippines.

Administration critics have linked Duterte to Pharmally via Davao City businessman Michael Yang's supposed involvement with the local company. Yang is the President’s former economic adviser.

That the upstart, low-capital company was awarded by government with huge contracts amid the pandemic--including the controversial procurement of personal protective equipment (PPE)--has raised a lot of eyebrows.

The Senate Blue Ribbon Committee chaired by Duterte's nemesis, Senator Richard Gordon, has been leading investigations in aid of legislation on these alleged irregularities.

"Itong Pharmally niya (Duterte), this is just the tip of the iceberg na ginagamit niya yung budget funds para mapasasa yung kanyang mga cronies, mga kaibigan niya, at siya mismo ay nakikinabang dito (he has been using budget funds in order to favor his cronies, his friends, and he himself has benefitted from this). At the expense of the health workers and the pandemic conditions," claimed Rosales.

"So the Senate is doing a good job, the COA did a good job. Kaya dapat hawakan natin yun at palaganapin natin (That’s why we must hold on it and propagate it)," she added.

While the 1Sambayan convenor praised COA, it should be noted that the agency has categorically said that it found no irregularity in the government's purchase of medical supplies.

The Palace has insisted that there was nothing wrong with the government's deal with Pharmally.

As if to show his indifference toward the personalities connected to Pharmally, President Duterte said last week that he didn't care if the senators "run over" the company during its hearings.