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Gordon: Senate uncovered ‘mother of all corruption’ under Duterte admin

/ 10:31 AM September 22, 2021
Senator Richard Gordon accused President Rodrigo Duterte of being a “bully” as he challenged him to “do [his] worst” against the lawmaker.

Senator Richard Gordon and President Rodrigo Duterte. INQUIRER FILE PHOTOS

MANILA, Philippines — The Senate Blue Ribbon Committee uncovered the “mother of all corruption” in the Duterte’s administration’s pandemic supply deals with a foreign-led company, Senator Richard Gordon said Wednesday.

As long as more anomalies are discovered, Gordon said his committee will not stop investigating the government’s transactions with Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp.

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Pharmally bagged over P8.6 billion worth of contracts from the Procurement Service of the Department of Budget and Management (PS-DBM) in 2020.

“Hanggang may hinahanap kami, tutuloy namin. ‘Di na kami titigil diyan sa dami,” Gordon said in an interview on Teleradyo.

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(Until we still have more things to uncover, we will continue. We will not stop because of the many anomalies that keep popping up.)

“Ang laki-laki nito, biruin mo break the record ito sa corruption, this is the mother of all corruption, sa Duterte administration pa nangyari. Inaasahan ng tao isasalba ang tao sa kahirapan,” he added.

(This is massive, this is record-breaking, this is the mother of all corruption and this happened under the Duterte administration when people are expecting that they will be rescued from poverty.)

The Senate, particularly Gordon, has been at the receiving end of backlash from the President as the chamber continues to look into the controversial purchases made by the government last year.

“Ang ayaw mo, masabihan na may mga corrupt kang tao. Ayaw mong marinig yon. Sapagkat akala mo perfect ka, attorney.)he added, referring to the President, who is a lawyer.

You don’t want to be told you have corrupt people. You don’t want to hear that. Because you think you’re perfect, attorney.)

‘Sick man of Asia again’

Gordon said the Philippines seems to have reverted to being the “sick man of Asia again” as corruption has supposedly thrived under the Duterte administration.

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“[We’re] the sick man of Asia again. Naibangon na ang Pilipinas, ngayon balik tayo [We were revived before, now we’re back to being in that status],” the senator said.

During the hearings, senators lamented what they believed was the favor accorded to Pharmally even if the firm’s prices were higher than that offered by Filipino suppliers.

“‘Di Pharmally ang target lang namin, ang target namin, sino ba ang nag-utos mag-kickback diyan ng napakalaki? Sino ang nagplano na nito na ‘kukuha tayo [sa] China, kukuha tayo sa mga hinanda nating supplier para papatungan natin?’” Gordon asked.

(We are not only targeting Pharmally, who we are targeting is who ordered kickbacks. Who planned to get suppliers from China, to order from our prepared suppliers so we can make the price higher?)

The PS-DBM, Malacañang, and the Department of Health have repeatedly defended the government’s transactions with Pharmally and denied alleged irregularities.

“Just to disabuse the mind of some people about corruption, it ain’t here at this time. I suppose that you are barking at the wrong person,” Duterte said in a public address last Aug. 21.

During one of the hearings, Pharmally president Huang Tzu Yen admitted that his firm borrowed money from former presidential economic adviser Michael Yang to help them fulfill some of the government’s orders last year.

In a House hearing last Monday, Yang insisted that it was his friends, not him, who funded Pharmally in some of its contracts with the government.

Huang, for his part, denied that they were favored in any way in the government’s procurement of medical supplies in 2020, saying the small company has been “unfairly prejudged.”

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