MANILA, Philippines — There has yet to be solid evidence that would link President Rodrigo Duterte to the government’s deals with Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp., Senator Panfilo Lacson said as he questioned a House panel’s supposed effort to “protect” Malacañang.
“It’s quite obvious na yung [that the] House, allies ng Palasyo [of the Palace]. And it’s now doing everything it can to, not really divert the issue, but they’re even hitting the Senate’s investigation,” Lacson told ABS-CBN News Channel in an interview on Tuesday.
The Senate and the House of Representatives are embarking in separate investigations into the use of pandemic response funds.
The Senate is particularly looking into the controversial multi-billion contracts awarded to Pharmally.
According to Lacson, inter-parliamentary courtesy has been “thrown out the window” with some House lawmakers criticizing the Senate’s investigation.
“[House good government and public accountability committee] Chairman Michael Aglipay announcing na yung Senate ginigipit yung mga [that the Senate is mistreating] witnesses. There’s no inter-parliamentary courtesy, [it’s] thrown out of the window,” Lacson said.
“Napaka-obvious naman na yung parallel investigation ng House para lang protektahan yung interes ng Malacañang,” he added.
(It’s so obvious that the parallel investigation of the House is only meant to protect the interest of Malacañang.)
Lacson was puzzled by efforts to supposedly protect Malacañang when there has yet to be concrete evidence that could link Duterte to Pharmally’s deals with the government.
“There is no connection that has been established so far. Michael Yang is as far as we go right now…but not the President, not the Palace and not even Senator Bong Go,” Lacson said.
“Being an investigator I always go by evidence. We can always speculate based on circumstances. But at the end of the day pinaguusapan natin dito ano ang evidence,” he added.
Nevertheless, the senator questioned the President’s defense of the some of the personalities linked to the controversial procurement.
Lacson also pointed to the President’s repeated rants against the Senate during the Chief Executive’s “Talk to the Nation” address.
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