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Controversies hounding the gov’t are mere ‘political noise’ — PCOO head

10:03 AM October 26, 2021
Secretary Martin Andanar of the Presidential Communications Operations Office stressed that the controversies hounding the Duterte administration like the Pharmally and alleged overpriced medical equipment are all ”political noise” which has not affected the President’s ”legacy.”

Communications Secretary Martin Andanar. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

CEBU CITY — Secretary Martin Andanar of the Presidential Communications Operations Office stressed that the controversies hounding the Duterte administration like the Pharmally and alleged overpriced medical equipment are all ”political noise” which has not affected the President’s ”legacy.”

Speaking to local Cebu media last Friday, Andanar said the questions raised on the Pharmally issue as well as the alleged overpriced medical equipment were all answered and cleared by the Commission on Audit (COA). There was no anomaly.

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“We all understand that it is election season, so aduna gyu’y (there will always be) noise politically,” said Andanar who was in Cebu last Friday, October 22, part of the Cebu-leg of the “Duterte Legacy Caravan“ aimed at informing the public on the projects completed by the current administration which only has eight months left in office.

In September, the issue on the purchase of personal protective equipment from Pharmally was raised at the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee headed by Senator Richard Gordon when COA flagged the P42-billion transaction which lacked supporting documents.

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The Blue Ribbon committee has since discovered several other alleged irregularities in the Pharmally contracts.

During the budget hearing last Wednesday, Senator Panfilo Lacson called out the Department of Health (DOH) on possible overpricing of procured equipment including ambulances that the senator also flagged earlier in September.

Lacson claims that the prices for the basic life support (BLS) that came with these ambulances were marked up. Lacson also noted that out of the 30 pieces of equipment supposedly included in the BLS, only 21 arrived in the local governments.

Lacson also claimed that two pieces of cellular phones that were bid by the DOH for P30,000, only had a combined retail price of only P7,998. The DOH bid for the dashboard camera was P15,000, but the same brand is only sold for P4,500.

COA chairman Michael Aguinaldo, said Andanar, already cleared the Pharmally issue from the very beginning. He said it is normal for COA to flag certain transactions yearly when it lacked some supporting documents.

“But we all know that it is already campaign season and it is not only an ordinary election but it’s a Presidential election,” Andanar added.

The Duterte Legacy Caravan, which Andanar leads, had no difficulty in delivering the “correct information” to the people despite these controversies.

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“Suprisingly, it is not difficult because the people believe that the legacies of the President is there. It is very tangible. You can see it, you can touch it, you can feel it, you can smell it. It is really there,” he said.

Andanar said he had no quarrel with the senators or congressmen who called out for an investigation into the government purchases part of the COVID-19 response.

“It is okay. It is part of democracy. Again as I said, I am a technocrat. I joined the government with my technical skills and intend to exit as a technocrat. I will not ruin my reputation by lying or by saying fake news or by doing black propaganda because that is not my personality.”

“It is all political and it is the right of the Senate to find out. It is the right of Congress to find out and investigate. And it is our right (to know).”

JPV

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TAGS: controversies, duterte, Martin Andanar, PCOO, political noise
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