MANILA – Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa on Tuesday said he is certain that President Rodrigo Roa Duterte won’t tolerate any form of corruption in the government.
Dela Rosa made this comment during the Senate Blue Ribbon inquiry into the alleged overpriced personal protective equipment (PPE), face shields, and other medical supplies in the fight against the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
“In fairness kay Pres. Duterte, I’ve known him for 35 years. At alam ko kapag ang isang tao niya ma-involve sa isang corruption, hindi ‘yan tatagal. Tanggal kaagad ‘yan (In fairness to President Duterte, I’ve known him for 35 years. I know that when one of his men get involved in corruption, he will be removed immediately),” dela Rosa said.
He added that even former Special Assistant to the President and now Senator Christopher “Bong” Go won’t allow himself to be used by anyone to influence government transactions on the purchase of medical supplies.
“In fairness sa kanya, hindi iyan tatagal sa tagiliran ng ating Pangulo kung iyan ay gumagwa ng kalokokhan dahil alam ko si Pres. Duterte hindi talaga iyan papayag na magkaroon ng corruption (In fairness to him [Go], he will not stay long with the President if he has been doing illegal because I know President Duterte will not really allow to have corruption),” dela Rosa said.
During the hearing conducted by the Senate blue ribbon committee, former Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Undersecretary Lloyd Christopher Lao said all the transactions involving the purchase Covid-19 emergency supplies at the onset of the pandemic are legitimate.
Lao made this response when asked by dela Rosa if the former DBM-Procurement Service (PS-DBM) chief received kickbacks in government contracts for the purchase of PPE set, face masks and other medical supplies.
“Wala po Sir. These are all legitimate transactions, multiple companies po sila lahat. Series of transactions ‘yan. And mabilisan ‘yan. (I did not receive kickbacks. These are all legitimate transactions, they are all multiple companies. Those are series of transactions. Emergencies),” Lao responded.
Lao added that Go did not give him instruction to give preference to Pharmally Pharmaceuticals Corporation.
“I would like to explain to the public para malaman nila (so that everybody will know). Pharmally did not supply PPEs (personal protective equipment) of these items to PS-DBM outright. Kasi walang supply no’n (Because there was no supply),” Lao said.
Since there was no supply of PPE set in the first few months of the pandemic, Lao said the government reached out to China using diplomatic channels.
“And China responded. Kaya nga ang nag-supply sa atin mga foreign companies first. Then later on, saka pumasok si Pharmally (So that is why foreign companies supplied to us first. Then later on, Pharmally came in). So, it’s a series of event,” he added.
Lao said the PS-DBM had to purchase face masks from Pharmally as local supplier EMS Components Assembly could only supply face masks by June 2020.
“When we had a contract with EMS already, we stopped procurement from any entity except EMS,” he said. (PNA)