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Senate blue ribbon committee says Duterte liable for plunder

Republika

The Senate Committee on Accountability of Public Officers and Investigations, more commonly known as the blue ribbon committee, has marked President Rodrigo Duterte for criminal charges due to complicity in the allegedly illicit Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp. supply contracts.

Following the release of a Commission on Audit (COA) report which flagged a questionable P42 billion transfer of Department of Health (DOH) pandemic response funds, further inquiry brought to light allegations of corruption in government dealings with Pharmally.


With a paid-up capital of merely P650,000 Pharmally was able to bag P11.5 billion in Covid19 supply contracts, said to have resulted in overpriced, sub-standard products and poor documentation.


Based on the findings of the committee, headed by Senator Richard Gordon, Duterte, DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III, executives from Pharmally, friends and former appointees of the president, and several more should be indicted for their graft and plunder, among other crimes.


“The nation has been betrayed. While millions are unemployed, have become poorer and hungrier, are desperate even for just a glimmer of hope, what this administration has done is to exacerbate the already execrable and hopeless state the people are all in. None can be more unforgivable,” the panel stated in its report.


Due to the massive financial scale and involvement of personal acquaintances of the president, Gordon said that Duterte must be held accountable for allowing the scam to take place.


Fueling this, as well as allegations of involvement, the panel also cited Duterte’s defensive behavior towards his accused friends.


Rather than support the inquiry, Duterte moved in opposition by trying to discredit both COA and the Senate, as well as preventing officials including those from his Cabinet from attending panel hearings.


While the Senate is yet to adopt the report, Malacañang opted to defer direct comments on the matter.


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