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Gordon: Senate panel to ‘dig deeper’ into Pharmally deals amid Duterte tirades

Senator Richard Gordon on Tuesday said President Rodrigo Duterte won’t launch tirades against him and the Senate for investigating the alleged overpriced medical supplies if he is not hiding something.

“Kung wala siyang tinatago, hindi siya babanat nang ganon. Sasagutin niya at hindi siya kakampi doon sa mga naimbestiga namin na sinasabi may koneksyon sa drugs, sinasabi kaibigan niyang matalik at lumalabas yung pangalan, nagsisinungaling sa Senado, sasabihin niya wala na siyang kinalaman doon sa Pharmally, si Michael Yang,” he said in an interview with DzBB reporter Nimfa Ravelo.

(If he is not hiding something, then he will not attack us like that. He will answer the allegations and he will not side with those who are subject of our investigation. Those who were allegedly linked to drugs, those whom he considers as best friends, those who were found lying in the Senate. He is saying he doesn’t know Pharmally and Michael Yang.)

He recalled Duterte’s meeting with Pharmally officials and Yang in 2017.

Gordon likewise mentioned the admission of Pharmally President Huang Tzu Yen that they borrowed money from Yang. Apart from this, the senator noted that Yang also served as a guarantor for the start-up firm.

The lawmaker said Duterte should have asked Yang about his involvement in the government transactions with Pharmally.

“Ipagtatanggol pa niya yung mga kaibigan niya at sisiraan pa niya ang co-equal branch of government. Di ko maintindihan e, bakit ganoon. At pagka masyado kang nagpupumiglas, ibig sabihin, maaaring may tinatago ka,” he said.

(He is defending his friends and he is destroying the image of a co-equal branch of the government. I don’t get it. Why is it like that? He is very resistant. That means, he might be hiding something.)

This, he said, will prompt the Senate to dig deeper into the issue to find out the “connections” that enabled the awarding of multi-billion contracts to a start-up company with a P625,000 paid-up capital.

Gordon also said he believes that Pharmally is just a dummy company of Michael Yang.

“Tingin ko dummy. Nayari sila sa Taiwan ginamit nila yung front ng Pharmally,” he said.

(I think it is a dummy company. They were caught in Taiwan using the front of Pharmally.)

Citing the appointment history of former Budget Undersecretary Christopher Lao, Gordon said that the latter was working directly with the president that’s why the Department of Budget and Management Procurement Service entered into the transactions with Pharmally.

“Di ba sabi ni [former Budget Secretary] Wendel Avisado, ‘oo technically…nasa ilalim ko ‘yan, pero ‘yan, ang may supervision and control niyan, ang appointing authority, ang pwedeng makialam, mag-affirm, mag-revise, mag-reverse ng mga ginagawa ni Lao ay ang Presidente, yung appointing authority,” Gordon said.

(It was Wendel Avisado who said that technically, he is working under him, but the one who has the supervision and control over Lao was the appointing authority. The one who can affirm, revise, and reverse the actions of Lao is the president, the appointing authority.)

Gordon added Duterte was defending Yang and the other individuals allegedly involved in the transactions because he knows that he might be tagged in the controversy.

“I think he knows na maaari siyang masangkot kaya ngayon pa lang, pinipilit niyang masira yung imbestigasyon at pinipilit niya lahat ng issue kung maaari lang mahiwalay doon sa, mawala ang atensyon ng tao. Kasi ngayon lang siya nayanig e. Dati kasi walang tumitindig di ba?” Gordon said.

(I think he knows that he might get involved in this as early as now. That is why he forces to destroy the investigation and distract the public’s attention. This is the first time that this happened because no one is standing up against him for so long.)

“Hindi naman ako nagimbestigasyon para tindigan ko siya e. Nag imbestigasyon ako dahil we are sworn to find out yung mga accountable officers kung they serve the people,” he added.

(I am not conducting this investigation to stand up against him. I am investigating because we are sworn to find out who are the accountable officers and if they are really serving the people.)

In a taped address aired Tuesday morning, Duterte lambasted Gordon anew as he leads the Senate probe into the alleged overpricing in government-procured COVID-19 supplies.

He said he will bar the Cabinet members from attending the probe without his clearance and he will personally campaign against Gordon.—LDF, GMA News