Not proper time

May 22, 2020

THE people, including the ordinary citizens across the country, support any move to investigate the alleged overpricing of medical equipment used in the fight against the deadly COVID-19. 

Like other well-meaning Filipinos, they believe that the overpricing of much-needed medical equipment is an unconscionable act that should be punished to the fullest extent of the law. 

We urge concerned government offices and agencies to get to the bottom of the alleged overpricing by the Department of Health (DOH) as part of efforts to hit hard at corrupt public servants.

In fact, eradicating graft and corruption in government offices, along with criminality and illegal drugs, is a top priority of President Duterte since day one of his six-year administration. 

Unfortunately, there are still public servants who make a mockery of the government’s anti-corruption campaign. They want to make big money at the public’s expense. 

But as crusading Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson, a former chief of the powerful 250,000-member Philippine National Police (PNP), pointed out, there’s certainly a proper time for the investigation.

During a Senate public hearing, Senator Lacson revealed the pricing difference between medical equipment bought by the health department and those purchased by the private sector.

Lacson said there’s a pattern of overpricing, but we should not be distracting DOH and other government offices by conducting an investigation because we are in the middle of a crisis.

We agree with the general-turned-senator from Cavite that seizing an opportunity for self-aggrandizement out of a crisis as big as the COVID-19 pandemic “is the height of callousness and greed.” 

The more important question, in the view of many, is what concerned government authorities will do to punish erring public servants after the C0VID-19 pandemic.