‘Napapaso ba kayo?’ Gordon hits ‘Atty. Duterte’ for defending Yang, others in Pharmally deals
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Richard Gordon on Friday slammed President Rodrigo Duterte for his repeated defense of his former economic adviser, Michael Yang, and other personalities being tagged in the government’s controversial deals with a foreign-led company.
“Kaya hindi sila makasagot, ang tiga-sagot nila ngayon ay si Atty. Duterte…’Di na siya Pangulo ng Pilipinas. Ang pangulo po, sumusumpa sa buong Pilipinas para sabihin niya ‘poproteksyonan ko at ipagtatanggol ko ang mga kababayan ko,’” Gordon, chairman of the Senate blue ribbon committee, said as his panel resumes its investigation.
(The reason they can’t answer is because Atty. Duterte is already answering for them. He’s no longer the President of the Philippines. A president takes his out before the country and say ‘I will protect and defend my countrymen.’)
“For the last several days, wala na pong ginawa ang ating Pangulo doon sa oras para mag-ulat sa tao tungkol sa pandemya, kung hindi ipagtanggol itong mga taong nandito,” he added.
(For the last several days, the President has done nothing but use the time to report the government’s pandemic response to the people to defend the people we are questioning.)
Gordon’s panel is looking into the government’s pandemic purchases in 2020, particularly the over P8.6 billion worth of pandemic-related supply contracts awarded by the Department of Budget and Management-Procurement Service (DBM-PS) to Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp. in 2020.
Among the personalities grilled by the Senate committee are Yang and former DBM-PS head Christopher Lao, a member of Duterte’s campaign team in 2016.
Yang was first linked to the controversial procurement after a 2017 video showed him introducing Pharmally officials to Duterte in Davao City.
During one of the hearings, Pharmally president Huang Tzu Yen admitted that his firm borrowed money from Yang to help them fulfill some of the government’s medical supplies orders last year.
Huang has also previously denied that they were favored in any way in the government’s procurement of medical supplies in 2020, saying the firm has been “unfairly prejudged.”
“Bakit niyo kailangang pinagtanggol si Mr. Yang? Kaya naman pala niyang ipagtanggol ang kanyang sarili [Why do you need to defend Mr. Yang? He can defend himself],” Gordon went on.
“Bakit kayo nagtatanggol kay Lao [Why do you have to defend Lao]?,” he added.
‘Napapaso ba kayo?’
Gordon also questioned Duterte’s repeated rants against the chamber’s investigation.
“Ayaw niyo pakinggan ng tao ang imbestigasyon ng COA (Commission on Audit), ng Senado, napapaso po ba kayo?” the senator asked.
(You don’t want the public to listen to COA, to the Senate? Are you feeling the heat?)
Gordon further denied that his committee is “bullying” its resource persons.
“Nagtatanong lang po kami sapagkat napakahalaga sa amin na malaman ang buong katotohanan,” he said.
(We are just asking questions because we want to know the whole truth.)
“Wala pa naman kaming hinuhusga. Tila baga tuwing lumalabas, natataranta ang Pangulo, bakit kayo ang kailangang kayo magtanggol, Mr. President?” Gordon went on.
(We have not judged anyone yet. It seems like every time something comes out, the President becomes rattled, why do you need to defend them?)
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