Rep. Aglipay clarifies: I don’t want to stop Senate hearing on overpriced supplies
MANILA, Philippines — The chairman of the House of Representatives’ committee on good government and public accountability has clarified that he does not want the Senate to stop its investigation on the alleged overpriced pandemic supplies bought from Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp.
Committee chair DIWA party-list Rep. Michael Edgar Aglipay said during the start of the House panel’s hearing on Monday that while he does not want the Senate blue ribbon committee’s probe to end, senators should be fair in its treatment of resource persons.
“Do not get me wrong, I do not want the Senate hearings to stop, to the credit of my fellow parliamentarians, the Senate has been working hard. However, it is my humble preference for our good senators to be fair in conducting their investigation, and to let witnesses speak freely,” Aglipay said.
“And in our last hearing it was clear, in the conduct of the inquiry, that we shall not be allowing questions that are out of context and not within the scope of the inquiry,” he added.
Aglipay hopes that the public and their fellow House members understand why they have been doing the investigation, as they believe the committee would be a beacon of truth and justice.
“I remain steadfast and strong in my position that the House blue ribbon committee shall serve as the beacon of truth and justice, free from any internal influence. This committee is focused only on bringing out the truth, on whether there is malfeasance, misfeasance or nonfeasance committed by government officials and private individuals in conspiracy with government officials,” he said.
“We hope our honorable House members and our kababayans will understand that this is not a witch-hunt, this is not a fishing expedition, rather this is a Congressional inquiry done in the most professional manner,” he added.
Aglipay’s recent statements took on a lighter tone compared to his previous remarks on the Senate’s motu proprio investigation. Last September 20, he made scathing accusations that the Senate regularly does investigations that would tarnish the reputation of leading presidential candidates.
He brought up the hearings done by the Senate in the past on former Senate president Manny Villar and then Vice President Jejomar Binay, who were leading candidates in the 2010 and 2016 polls, respectively, but both eventually lost.
That incident was not the first time that Aglipay and House lawmakers accused Senate members of using the investigation for their own interests. Last September 15, Aglipay said that he is “sad” over the Senate’s attempt to destroy President Rodrigo Duterte’s credibility by linking him to the illegal drug trade.
The Senate is also doing a probe on the Commission on Audit (COA) report that showed deficiencies in the Department of Health (DOH) COVID-19 funds which amounted to P67.32 billion.
Part of the P67.32 billion is the P42 billion funds transferred by DOH to the procuring entities like Procurement Service of the Department of Budget and Management (PS-DBM), which then allocated P8.7 billion to Pharmally despite its small paid-up capital of P625,000.
The probe on Pharmally has affected several of the administration’s allies, like former PS-DBM head Christopher Lloyd Lao and former presidential economic adviser Michael Yang.
Yang’s name popped up in the discussions after it was revealed that he guaranteed for Pharmally when it cannot yet pay its dues to Chinese suppliers, while also helping pump funds into the company.