House panel denies solon’s motion to use Pharmally’s testimonies before Senate | Inquirer News
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House panel denies solon’s motion to use Pharmally’s testimonies before Senate

/ 03:40 PM September 20, 2021

MANILA, Philippines —  The House panel investigating alleged overpriced pandemic supplies has denied a motion asking the body to adopt the testimonies made by Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp. before the Senate blue ribbon committee, insisting that they are a separate body.

During the House committee on good government and public accountability hearing on Monday, Bayan Muna Rep. Ferdinand Gaite asked committee chair and DIWA party-list Rep. Michael Edgar Aglipay if they could use the statements made by Pharmally officials and representatives in the Senate.

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But while Gaite was speaking, Aglipay was already heard asking a lawmaker to deny and object to the motion.

“I would like first to manifest ‘yong, since natanong na po ng hearing ng Senate blue ribbon committee and the officials of Pharmally have testimonies under oath, and now are part of public record, I move that the testimonies of Pharmally, in particular of the officials of Pharmally […] be included as part of our hearing there in the House of Representatives under our good committee,” Gaite said.

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‘Yon na ‘yon, ‘yon ‘yong sinasabi […] i-move, deny mo, I object kamo,” Aglipay said.

Then, Surigao del Sur 2nd District Rep. Johnny Pimentel countered Gaite, noting that the investigations of the Senate and the House are different and that the proceedings cannot simply be adopted.

“So the investigations of the Senate and that of the HRep are totally separate although on similar issues.  Mr. Chair, marami na ho tayong ginawang mga imbestigasyon or inquiries on same issues, marami na ho […] But then, hindi pwedeng kokopyahin natin ‘yong proceedings we have our own rules, our own rules in the conduct of inquiry,” Pimentel said.

“So the direction of the Senate could be totally different from the direction of our investigation, why will we adopt the proceedings of the Senate when we are totally separate chambers?  So therefore Mr. Chair, I object to the motion,” he added.

BH party-list Bernadette Herrera-Dy also joined the discussions, saying that Gaite’s motion does not consider the independence of the House with the Senate.

“I also object to the motion considering that marami pa pong mga congressman ang gustong magtanong, marami pa pong gustong magpalabas ng sitwasyon na pumapalibot dito, at tayo po ay may mga sariling opinion sa House of Representatives, I object to the motion because hindi niya nilalagay ang independence ng House with the Senate,” Herrera-Dy said.

“Meron po tayong sariling pamamaraan ng pag-imbestigasyon dito, hindi po nararapat na mag-adopt tayo ng kung ano man ang ginawa nila sa Senado.  So I object to that motion, and I think that motion is really out of order,” she claimed.

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But Gaite clarified that he was not asking the House panel to adopt the proceeding, stressing that he was only seeking to use the testimonies as basis, because they were already made while Pharmally officials were under oath.

“To clarify, this representation did not state that we adopt the proceedings, what this representative stated were the testimonies of the representatives, officials, which are under oath and part of the public documents, I did not state that the proceedings would be adopted, only the testimonies of the officials of Pharmally, Mr. Chair,” Gaite said.

“Gano’n na rin ‘yon,” Aglipay was heard replying.  “The chair will rule na, in light of the foregoing, I rule to deny the motion of Congressman Gaite because we are a bicameral, two houses separate, distinct from one another.”

Both the House and the Senate are currently investigating allegations of overpriced pandemic supplies, after the Commission on Audit (COA) flagged P67.32 billion of the Department of Health (DOH) COVID-19 funds.

This includes the P42 billion transferred by DOH to procuring agencies like the Procurement Service of the Department of Budget and Management (PS-DBM), which gave a huge chunk of the contracts to Pharmally amounting over P8.6 billion.

The Senate committee has recently focused on the alleged overpriced pandemic supplies provided by Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp., after it was revealed that the firm only had a P625,000 capital, and sold face masks at over P27 per piece while a local supplier gave it for P13.

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TAGS: Bayan Muna, Department of Budget and Management-Procurement Service , House committee good government and public accountability, House of Representatives, overpricing, Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp., Philippine news updates, PS-DBM, Rep. Ferdinand Gaite, Senate, Senate blue ribbon committee
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