PRRD supports Ombudsman investigation on Pharmally issue

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MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte has welcomed requests for the Ombudsman to launch an independent investigation into the government’s controversial multibillion-peso deals with Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp.

This comes after the Philippine College of Physicians (PCP) asked the Ombudsman to file appropriate charges against anyone involved in any form of corruption.

“We welcome the call of the Philippine College of Physicians that this matter should immediately be given to our courts and the Ombudsman. We have been saying this for the longest time and we all know that the Senate cannot prosecute. Mabuti pa ang mga doktor, alam at naintindihan nila (At least the doctors understand). Filing cases is the right way to go,” he said in a pre-recorded public address aired late Tuesday night.

Duterte requested the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, which is conducting a series of investigations into the Pharmally issue, to cease using it as a campaign issue.

“Problema kasi sa Senate natin, trying hard maghanap ng mga issue na may nangungurakot o kaya may nagkakapera (The problem with the Senate is that it’s trying hard to look for issues of corruption) but up to now the committee has not really built a case out of the numerous hearings they have conducted,” he said.

He claimed that the government’s medical supplies procurement was not overpriced, stating that it complied Republic Act (RA) 9184, the Government Procurement Reform Act and RA 11469, the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act.

Duterte stated that the Senate panel has the authority to file charges against corporations that engage in tax evasion.

“If you think you have identified companies with tax issues then file the appropriate cases. Matagal naman naming sinasabi: Kasuhan niyo ang mga dapat kasuhan. Lahat naman talaga dapat magbayad ng buwis (we have been saying for the longest time: File charges. Everyone should pay their taxes),” he added.

He asked the Senate to take his memorandum forbidding executive officials from attending Senate hearings to the Supreme Court.

“You call my memorandum stupid? Well I challenge you, bring your arguments to the proper court and I will answer you,” he said.

Senator Richard “Dick” Gordon was also chastised by Duterte for allegedly threatening to reduce budgets of government agencies and departments over his memo.

“You threaten the budget of different agencies of the executive because the officials refuse to attend to your hearings? Itong pangaabuso talaga…And they threaten to paralyze government, I challenge you do it,” he said.

Meanwhile, Duterte has raised the possibility of allowing the Ombudsman to investigate Gordon’s alleged failure to return PHP86 million in public funds while still serving as chairman of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA).

“I think we will have to see if we can call on the Ombudsman to step in because matagal itong utang na ito at (this unreturned money was so long ago and) final and executory na,” he added.

From 1992 to 1998, Gordon served as the chairman of the SBMA.

Gordon could face charges of malversation in connection with the unreturned funds, according to Duterte.

House committees to hold hearings during break

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Spread the loveMANILA – The House of Representatives has authorized for its committees to conduct hearings during the five-week congressional break, extending until late April.