Greco Belgica: Senate’s Pharmally probe all talk, no action
MANILA, Philippines — What started out as an investigation into the Pharmally case turned out to be a demolition job against President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration, according former Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) chairperson Greco Belgica.
Belgica said the Senate blue ribbon committee’s probe into the alleged irregularities in the procurement of COVID-19 supplies became an effort to discredit the government’s anti-corruption drive.
“I hope isinampa na lang nila sa korte dahil ang bottomline lang naman e gusto lang nilang itali kay President Duterte ang kaso. Wala naman silang makuhang ebidensya against the President,” said Belgica, who is running for a Senate seat this coming May.
Belgica also clarified some issues about the procurement of COVID-19 supplies from Pharmally by the Department of Health (DOH), through the Procurement Service of the Department of Budget and Management (PS-DBM).
“Naclarify na ito lahat during the house hearings. Una, pinipilit ng Ibang Senador na may overpricing daw. Walang overpricing according to COA. In fact, even COA Chairman Mike Aguinaldo testified in the Senate that there was no overpricing.” Belgica said.
“Pilit rin nilang pinapalabas na ang mga contrata ng gobyerno favored Pharmally. Mali ito. Merong 17 suppliers sa PPE at 8 suppliers naman para sa face masks” Belgica added.
“Kung meron man nagkasala dito, ang private corporation na Pharmally ang dapat makasuhan at hindi ang gobyerno. Clearly, naestablish ng house good government and public accountability committee na wala namang kasalanan ang gobyerno.”
He also said this ran in contrast to his office’s effort to curb government anomalies.
“Kami ho sa PACC madaming inimbestigahan at isinampa sa Ombudsman. Sila iisang kaso lang iyan at ginamit para idiscredit ang gobyerno. Ang masama dito, wala naman silang kinasuhan,” said Belgica.
“‘Yun ang nakikita ko… pinulitika nila yan. Sana mayroong maparusahan at kung sino man yan, dapat parusahan.”
Belgica cited that the PACC was able to file 154 cases against high ranking government officials, kick out 800 government officials tied to corruption, jail 24 and probe over 13,000 reports on corruption.
Belgica said that in the Bureau of Customs alone, they were able to hike revenue collection after reducing corruption.
From the P1.856 trillion total revenue collected by the BOC in the administration of former President Benigno Aquino III from 2010 to 2016, they were able to almost double the collection to P3.265 trillion in the time of President Duterte in 2016 to 2022.
Belgica said the same thing happened as far as the Bureau of Internal Revenue’s (BIR) tax collection is concerned.
“BIR during President Duterte’s administration has been consistently hitting its growing revenue tragets every year even during the pandemic. The lowest they hit was 96% collection kasi pumasok ang pandemic,” he said.
“Hindi natin nazero pa, pero bumaba dahil natakot ang mga tao mahuli ni President Duterte o ng PACC sa korapsyon, maexpose at makasuhan,” added Belgica.
“Simula palang yan. Mahina pa ang batas at structure ng anti corruption laws sa bansa.”
Belgica said that in contrast, the Senate probe did not result to anything meaningful.
“Dapat in aid of legislation ang investigation. Anong legislation ang natapos nila? Pag finile nila ang kaso kailan pa matatapos iyan?” he said.
“Instead of wasting government funds for their political interests, they should have focused on strengthening the justice system by putting more money in the judiciary so that the SC can hire more judges, build more courts, government can hire more prosecutors and investigators commensurate sa cases filed in their jurisdiction. Wala akong ganoong nakitang ginawa sila e.”
Strengthening the justice system is one of Belgica’s priority platforms if elected to the Senate.
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