Best way to respond to Senate probe on ‘overpriced’ PPE? Face it, says Robredo
MANILA, Philippines — What’s the best way to respond to Senate investigation on the purchase of “overpriced” pandemic response supplies? Face it.
Vice President Leni Robredo said this after President Rodrigo Duterte recently ranted against some senators as well as the probe being undertaken by the Senate on the issue.
“Para sakin, the best way to respond to the investigation sa Senado: Harapin,” she said in an interview on ABS-CBN News Channel.
(For me, the best way to respond to the investigation in the Senate: Face it.)
“Harapin. I-walkthrough sa process kung bakit naging ganito…Maraming tanong na kailangang sagutin, so kung ako yung tinatanong, pinakamaigi na i-walkthrough ko yung Senado para ipakita kung bakit ganito yung mga desisyon. And I am not seeing that today,” she added.
(Face it. Walk them through the process of what happened. There are a lot of questions that need to be answered, it’s better to walk the Senate through the decisions that were made. And I am not seeing that today.)
The Senate blue ribbon committee is currently investigating the controversial procurement of “overpriced” personal protective equipment (PPE), face masks and shields made by the Department of Budget and Management-Procurement Service on behalf of the Department of Health.
The company at the center of the probe is Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp., which bagged government contracts worth over P8.6 billion in 2020 despite being only several months old and having just P625,000 in paid-up capital.
Last week, Duterte slammed senators for “showing off” and urged the public to no longer vote for them in the coming elections.
The president particularly mentioned Senator Richard Gordon, chairman of the Senate blue ribbon committee, as well as Senator Panfilo Lacson.
“The last two press conferences were really quite frustrating for us kasi nasa middle tayo ng surge, na kailangan all hands on deck. Tapos ang greater part of the press conference ay pinupuna yung mga senador, yung COA (Commission on Audit),” Robredo said.
(The last two press conferences were really quite frustrating for because we are in the middle of a surge, we need all hands on deck. Yet the greater part of the press conference went to criticizing senators and COA.)
Over the weekend, the vice president branded Malacañang’s move to dig up the procurement of personal protective equipment (PPE) during the Aquino administration as a “lame attempt” to divert attention from the issue on the purchase of allegedly overprice medical supplies at the height of the pandemic.
“I don’t sit in judgement of them. Ang sakin lang, yung impressions ko, nakabase sa kung anong nababasa ko, ano yung napapanood ko…Halimbawa, naiintindihan natin na walang bidding ngayon dahil sa urgency pero wala akong idea kung sino ba yung mga player na iba, bakit ibinigay sa isang company na ang taas ng presyo?” Robredo went on.
(I don’t sit in judgement of them. For me, my impressions are based on what I read and watch…For example, I understand that there is no bidding now due to the urgency of the situation but I have no idea who are the players, why did we give it to a company who gave such a high price?)
“Bakit ang laki ng ibinigay sa isang company na bago pa lang na-organisa, na napakakaunti ng capitalization. Ang daming questions running through my mind,” she added.
(Why did we give that much to a company that was newly organized and had little capitalization. There’s a lot of questions running through my mind.)
Robredo also pointed to the personalities linked to Pharmally.
“Ngayon lumalabas na ang personalities behind the company merong mga hindi kaaya-ayang record. Bakit hindi iyun nakita bago in-award? Napakalaking pera yung involved,” she said.
(Now it is revealed that personalities behind the company have some troublesome records. Why did they not see it before the contracts were awarded? A large amount of money is involved.)
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.