Filtered By: Topstories

Lao asks for reconsideration, told to submit to Senate sgt at arms

Senate blue ribbon committee chairman Richard Gordon had advised Christopher Lloyd Lao, former head of Department of Budget Management Procurement Service (PS-DBM), to submit himself to the Senate's sergeant-at-arms following an arrest warrant issued against him.

This was after Lao filed a motion of reconsideration dated November 4, 2021, which responded to the Senate's decision to cite him in contempt for skipping the panel's hearing on the alleged overpricing of COVID-19 procurement.

In Lao's motion, he indicated that he "religiously appeared and actively participated in the series of hearings conducted by the Senate and attended the parallel investigation of the House of Representatives."

Lao also said he helped the Senate blue ribbon committee to "obtain facts or gather information relative to the procurement of the needed medical supplies at the height of the pandemic."

Further, Lao said in his motion that during the Senate inquiry, he was "berated, insulted, maligned, pre-judged for having committed a crime and treated like a criminal without rights."

He also appealed to the Senate that he is willing to participate in the hearing as long as it is "non-hostile."

"I have never disrespected the Senate and will continue to give due reverence to its authority and hereby conveys that I am more than willing to attend and testify if heretofore called upon in a non-hostile senate inquiry as I would not willingly put myself into the firing line moreso purposely participate in a proceeding where my constitutional rights are trampled and disregarded," Lao wrote.

Gordon contradicted Lao's motion, adding that the former DBM official failed to attend several Senate panel inquiries.

"Please be aware that you have not made yourself available to the Committee for further questions in the last four hearings: October 5, October 19, October 28, and November 4. This refusal to attend, despite due notice, constrained the Committee to cite you for contempt," said Gordon in a reply letter to Lao dated November 15 but was sent to the media on Monday.

Lao made himself more "scarce" after the Senate had already ordered his arrest, Gordon also said.

"After the citation and an Order of Arrest had been duly issued, you have made yourself even more scarce, exhibiting your lack of respect for legal processes of a duly- constituted authority," Gordon said.

To assess Lao's motion, Gordon requested Lao to face his arrest as soon as possible.

"If it is your wish that the Committee act on your Motion, we suggest that you submit yourself to the Senate Sergeant-at-Arms first at the soonest possible time," said Gordon.

"In the meantime the Order of Arrest will continue to subsist and the search for your person will not cease until the Sergeant-at-Arms is able to take you into custody," the senator added.

Lao, who was head of PS-DBM when it made the questioned transactions during the pandemic, was reportedly not at his residence when authorities tried to serve a warrant for his arrest. -NB, GMA News