For Senator Richard Gordon, the Philippines is the sick man of Asia again as he claimed that corruption thrived under the Duterte administration.
“Tayo is the sick man of Asia again. Naibangon na ang Pilipinas, ngayon balik tayo,” Gordon said in a radio interview.
(We are the sick man of Asia again. We were able to improve our economy but now we are back to our previous state.)
“Ang laki-laki nito. Biruin mo break the record ito sa corruption. This is the mother of all corruption, sa Duterte administration pa nangyari. Inaasahan ng tao isasalba ang tao sa kahirapan,” he added.
(The amounts are huge. This may break the record of corruption. This is the mother of all corruption and it happened under the Duterte administration. What we have expected is the government will save the people from poverty.)
Gordon said huge amount of public funds were involved in the controversy and yet President Rodrigo Duterte opted to attack his critics instead of addressing the problem.
“Ito talagang nakita ninyo, sandamakmak na salapi. At ang makikita ang style niya — ‘pag may kalaban isara mo 'yung istasyon, ikulong mo, 'pag may kalaban pigilin mo. ‘Yun ang style ng administrasyon na ito. Nakakaawa ang tao,” he said.
(As you can see, a lot of money was involved here and his style is to shut down a broadcasting station, jail his critics, and stop his opponents. That is the style of this administration. The people are suffering.)
Gordon, who leads the probe into the alleged overpriced pandemic supplies, maintained that the Senate blue ribbon committee won’t stop digging more issues relevant to the procurements made by the government at the onset of the pandemic.
“‘Di Pharmally ang target lang namin. Ang target namin, sino ba ang nag-utos mag-kickback diyan ng napakalaki? Sino ang nagplano na kukuha tayo China, kukuha tayo sa mga hinanda natin supplier para papatungan natin?” he said.
(We do not just go after Pharmally. We wanted to know who was behind the huge kickback. Who planned to get the supplies from China or from their known suppliers to gain profit?)
“Ngayon, ito napapatunayan. Bakit hindi atupagin ng Pangulo? Sabi mo makaamoy ka lang ng korapsyon e talagang magwawala ka na,” he noted.
(Now that the issue is being proven, why doesn’t the President address this? You said you will act on the issues with just a whiff of corruption.)
GMA News Online has asked the Palace for comment about Gordon's remarks.
Gordon has been trading barbs with Duterte after the Senate blue ribbon committee started the investigation into the purchase of COVID-19 supplies made by the government at the onset of the pandemic.
The Senate panel has focused its probe on the transactions made by the government with Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corporation, the small firm that bagged more than P8 billion in government contracts for the said procurement of personal protective equipment (PPEs), which were alleged to be overpriced.
On Tuesday, Gordon told Duterte to do his worst, saying he is not afraid of the President.
In his latest public address aired Tuesday night, Duterte asked the senator to answer allegations that he had parked P88 million “pork barrel” funds in the Philippine Red Cross, a humanitarian organization chaired by Gordon.
The President also warned of “trouble in government” if his Cabinet men will be detained by Gordon and the Senate.
Duterte likewise ordered an investigation into the alleged “false positive” COVID-19 test results reported by the PRC.
The PRC meanwhile on Tuesday said the "timing" and collection of second samples may have triggered the negative results. It said the personnel may have already been negative for the virus when the second samples were collected by the other laboratory. —with a report from Llanesca T. Panti/KG, GMA News