SEN. Richard Gordon, chief prober of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, asserted on Tuesday that Pharmally officials and other witnesses summoned to testify in the ongoing inquiry into alleged anomalies in the purchases of pandemic supplies should appear if they have nothing to hide.
The senator suggested that President Duterte likewise allow the Executive branch officials invited as resource persons to shed light on the alleged overpriced face masks supplied by Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corporation.
Duterte has twice threatened to prohibit Executive branch officials from appearing as resource persons in the Senate, where, he said, the inquiry appeared more intended for the political projection of senators seeking elective posts in 2022.
On Sunday, Gordon had noted the sudden disappearance of Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp. officer Krizle Grace Mago and the withdrawal of Linconn Ong from a proposal to testify at a closed-door executive session with senators sitting in the Blue Ribbon inquiry. Ong said, in a letter to the Blue Ribbon on Monday, that he was retreating from the executive session on the advice of his lawyer.
Sen. Gordon said both Mago’s “disappearance” and Ong’s change of heart may indicate that a coverup is in the works.
In turn, the Senate chief prober wondered aloud why, if the Executive is indeed keen on protecting public interest and fighting anomaly, is it putting stumbling blocks seen to derail the inquiry. Gordon lamented that both the Senate and the Commission on Audit are even being criticized for investigating anomalies.
Gordon recalled, for instance, that at the start of the inquiry into alleged overpriced pandemic supplies, the Executive already attempted to play down the anomaly, as seen in Duterte’s spirited defense of former economic adviser Michael Yang and the Procurement Service of the Department of Budget and Management that bought an estimated P12 billion in pandemic supplies from Pharmally, a low-capital startup whose chief executive admitted to senators that they borrowed from Yang to sustain their cash flow when they were under pressure to deliver millions of PPE items to the Department of Health, through the PS-DBM.