Manila, Philippines – A group of doctors have called on President Rodrigo Duterte to rescind his order barring Cabinet members from attending the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee hearing on the alleged abnormal supply of COVID-19 supplies.
The group wants the Senate hearing to continue the hearing, questioning why the Department of Health (DOH) transferred said contract to the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).
This is despite the earlier clarification made by the Audit Commission that there was no overpricing in the procurement of COVID-19 supplies and that said government transaction was subject to close inspection.
“This one belongs to the Ministry of Health and does not use the protective equipment of this Ministry of Budget (and Management), DBM. ‘Yun pa lang hindi ma-explain, kase ang ipinapasa lang po talaga in DBM is youung mga administrative. ‘Yung mai kinalaman in the administrative part, which means yung office supplies, protective equipment, definitely it is a health. It should actually belong to the Ministry of Health,’ said said the group’s chairman, Dr. Maricar Limpin.
The group also defended how some senators were questioned about resource people, saying there was no intimidation during the hearing.
“However, there is a part of cross-examination, to different personalities have different ways of trying to get information. Whatever form na ginagawa nila in order to extract the truth, kase hindi siya maliit na pera Forty-two billion. And napunta po iyong deal na iyan, yung kontrata, sa un maliit na kumpanya,” said Dr. Anthony Leachon, former PCP chairman.
The group calls on the Senate to complete the hearing on said matter and forward the outcome of its investigation to the Department of Justice or the Office of the Ombudsman for appropriate action.
Meanwhile, presidential spokesman Harry Roque said the administration will no longer allow Cabinet members and other Executive Department officials to attend subsequent Senate hearings.
“In fact, they appeared before 12 Senate and House hearings and he only said itigil na iyan after 12. Kasi wala namang bago pong tinatanong at walang bagong sagot,” Roque said. —/mbmf (from report by UNTV correspondent Janice Ingente)