Pharmally probe must continue despite Duterte's criticisms — Villanueva | Inquirer News
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Pharmally probe must continue despite Duterte’s criticisms — Villanueva

/ 07:14 PM November 04, 2021
Senator Joel Villanueva speaks to reporters at the Cebu Capitol on Thursday, November 4, 2021. (DALE ISRAEL/INQUIRER VISAYAS)

Senator Joel Villanueva speaks to reporters at the Cebu Capitol on Thursday, November 4, 2021. (DALE ISRAEL/INQUIRER VISAYAS)

CEBU CITY — Despite criticisms from President Duterte, Senator Joel Villanueva believes the Senate should continue with the investigations on the Philippine government’s questionable deals during the COVID-19 pandemic.

During his visit to Cebu City on Thursday, Villanueva said it is incumbent upon the Senate to conduct inquiries in aid of legislation.

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“I was the first one to point this out; 25,000 people from our local manufacturers of face masks and personal protective equipment lose their jobs. They were replaced by only seven employees who are not even paying taxes and contributions,” he told reporters at the side lines of his visit to Cebu Gov. Gwen Garcia at the Cebu Capitol.

“These are the things that we need to look into seriously. We respect the executive but we also ought to be respected as legislators and as an institution,” he added.

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At the center of the controversy is the two-year-old firm Pharmally that bagged over P8 billion worth of COVID-19 contracts.

Pharmally, which has links to President Duterte’s former economic adviser Michael Yang, won these deals even if it lacked the track record and credibility to engage in big-ticket government procurement.

When asked if these inquiries were deliberately prolonged for political mileage, Villanueva disagreed.

“There are some issues that I found just now. I also respect my colleagues for continuously asking these questions,” he said.

With the executive department no longer attending the Senate hearings, Villanueva said this would further prolong the inquiries.

The senator is in Cebu for several events, including the launch of the Cebu Normal University’s Medical Course under the Doctor Ng Bayan program.

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TAGS: COVID-19, investigation, Joel Villanueva, Pharmally
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