Robin Padilla: Ex-president Duterte violated no law in Covid fund transfer


Former President Rodrigo Duterte did not violate any law when he ordered the transfer of billions of pesos in Covid-19 funds to the procurement service of the Department of Budget and Management (PS-DBM), Sen. Robinhood "Robin" C. Padilla said over the weekend.


Padilla pointed out that regular procurement procedures did not apply to personal protective equipment (PPEs) based on Section 4 of the Bayanihan Law (Republic Act 11469) and the Government Procurement Policy Board Resolution dated April 6, 2020.


Furthermore, Duterte was given emergency powers to deal with the crisis at the time, the senator pointed out.


“Si dating Pangulo Rodrigo Roa Duterte ay walang nilabag na batas at sa katotohanan batay po sa Seksyon 4 ng Bayanihan Law 1 (RA 11469) na nagbubukod sa mga pagbili ng personal protective equipment (PPEs) mula sa procurement law at iba pang nauugnay na batas at alinsunod sa Government Procurement Policy Board Resolution na may petsang Abril 6, 2020 (Former President Rodrigo Roa Duterte violated no law. This is based on Section 4 of the Bayanihan Law that excludes PPEs from the procurement law, as well as a Government Procurement Policy Board Resolution dated April 6, 2020),” Padilla said.


Padilla was reacting to former Health Secretary Francisco Duque III’s testimony during a congressional inquiry that he transferred some P47.6-billion to the PS-DBM to purchase Covid supplies, on orders of then President Duterte.


The lawmaker said there should be no room for mudslinging because the Philippines, like other governments at the time, had to spend to beat the pandemic.


"Katulad ng ibang mga bansa tunay na sumuka ng salapi ang lahat ng gobyerno, ang karamihan ay katulad natin na nangutang para mapagtagumpayan ang pandemic ng COVID (Other countries whose governments spent much to beat the pandemic. Many, like us, had to borrow funds for this purpose)," he said.


“Kailangan ba talaga magbatuhan ng putik sa oras na ang Inangbayan ay nasa bingit ng tatahaking kapalaran (Must we resort to mudslinging at a time the country is in peril)?” he lamented.


Other senators have found irregularities in the funds transfer with Sen. Risa Hontiveros saying that since Duque made the statement under oath, the former president should be included in the ongoing investigation on the Pharmally mess.


“Duterte should, at the very least, explain the policy considerations that resulted in his directive to Sec. Duque,” Hontiveros said.