MANILA, Philippines — A group of doctors appealed to President Rodrigo Duterte to reverse his order barring Cabinet members from attending the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee’s hearing on the alleged anomalous procurement of COVID-19 supplies.
The group wants the Senate hearing to continue the hearing, questioning why the Department of Health (DOH) transferred the said procurement to the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).
This, despite the earlier clarification made by the Commission on Audit that there was no overpricing in the procurement of COVID-19 supplies and that the said government transaction went through careful inspection.
“Kung bakit ipinasa ng Department of Health ang pagbili nung mga protective equipment na ito sa Department of Budget (and Management), sa DBM. ‘Yun pa lang hindi ma-explain, kase ang ipinapasa lang po talaga sa DBM ay yung mga administrative. ‘Yung mga may kinalaman sa administrative part which means yung mga office supplies, ang mga protective equipment, definitely this is a health. This should actually belong to the Department of Health,” said the group’s president, Dr. Maricar Limpin.
The group also defended the manner of questioning of some senators on the resource persons, saying that there was no bullying that was taking place during the hearing.
“Sa paningin ko yun ay part ng pagku-cross examine, at different personalities have different way 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. At napunta po iyong deal na iyan, yung kontrata, sa isang maliit na kumpanya,” Dr. Anthony Leachon, former president of PCP, said.
The group appeals to the Senate to finish the hearing on the said issue and forward the result of their investigation to the Department of Justice or the Office of the Ombudsman for appropriate action.
Meanwhile, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said that the administration will no longer allow Cabinet members and other officials in the Executive Department to attend any succeeding Senate hearings.
“In fact, they appeared before 12 hearings of the Senate and the House and he only said itigil na iyan, after 12. Kasi wala namang bago pong tinatanong at walang bagong sagot,” Roque said. —/mbmf (from the report of UNTV Correspondent Janice Ingente)