Palace discredits Gordon’s ‘grand conspiracy’ claims in Pharmally deals
MANILA, Philippines — Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque on Tuesday insisted that President Rodrigo Duterte was not in any way involved in the alleged corruption plaguing the transactions of Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp. with the government on the purchase of pandemic supplies.
He dismissed claims of “grand conspiracy” in the Pharmally transactions as mere gossip.
“Kuwentong kutsero po iyan sa panahon ng pulitika pero kapag ebidensiya po, walang ganiyang ebidensiya,” Roque said during the Palace briefing.
(Those are just rumors in this time of politics but if talking about evidence, there is none.)
Roque likewise ruled out any overpricing in the procurement of personal protective equipment (PPE) amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“In fact, ni hindi nga napatunayan na may kinalaman iyong relasyon ng Presidente sa pagbili ng mga PPEs. Uulitin ko po ha, unang-una, wala pong overprice sa pagbili ng mga PPE sang-ayon po iyan sa chairman ng Commission on Audit,” he said.
(In fact, it is not proven that the president’s relations to the officials have something to do with the procurement of PPEs. Again, first of all, there is no overpricing in the purchase of PPE, according to the Commission on Audit chairman.)
“Pangalawa, wala pong nalabag na batas dahil ang Kongreso mismo po ang nagbigay ng Bayanihan I at binigyan ng kapangyarihan ang Presidente na bumili ng mga PPEs at iba pang kinakailangan natin sa lalong mabilis na panahon.”
(Second, the law was not violated because it was Congress that gave the Bayanihan I which allowed the president to buy PPEs and other necessities as soon as possible.)
“So, malinaw po iyan. So, kung wala pong paglabag sa batas at walang overprice, bakit magkakaroon ng grand conspiracy; usaping kutsero po ng isang taong namumulitika,” Roque added.
(So, it is clear. So, if there is no violation of the law and overpricing, why would there be a grand conspiracy? It is a rumor from a person politicking.)
Roque’s remark was in response to Senator Richard Gordon who, in his opening speech upon the resumption of the Senate blue ribbon committee investigation on Tuesday, stated, “it is clear and categorical to us that this grand conspiracy could never have happened without the imprimatur of the President. The President allowed his friends to bleed this nation’s coffers dry.”
Roque then noted that Duterte never blocked Cabinet officials from attending Senate hearings, but only lamented that officials in the executive branch must devote more of their time to address the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Ang problema po matapos ang napakaraming hearing — at kung hindi po ako nagkakamali, doseng iyong hearing na iyan — ay patuloy pa rin. Eh ano naman po ang mangyayari sa panahon ng pandemya, kung ang panahon ng ating secretary of health, vaccine czar at saka testing czar ay mauubos sa pag-attend sa mga hearing na iyan,” Roque said.
(The problem is, after many hearings — if I’m not mistaken, 12 hearings — it still goes on. What will happen amid the pandemic if the secretary of health, vaccine czar, and testing czar exhaust their time attending those hearings.)
But Duterte himself said he has issued a memo prohibiting members of the Cabinet from attending the Pharmally probe by Gordon’s panel. He earlier even ordered the police force not to arrest anyone who would ignore subpoenas from the Senate.
Despite having a paid-up capital of P625,000, Pharmally clinched multi-billion-peso deals from the government to supply the country with medical goods for its COVID-19 response.
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