Duterte won’t withdraw memo barring gov’t officials from Pharmally hearings

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 7, 2021   •   437

MANILA, Philippines—President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday night (October 6) defended his memorandum order barring government officials from attending the Senate investigation on the government’s management of pandemic funds.

During his regular public address, Duterte slammed senators who were calling for the withdrawal of the memo directing government officials and employees to no longer attend the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee hearings.

“Kayo ang nag-umpisa nito eh. Kayo ang nag-umpisa nitong lahat (You’re the ones who started this. You started all of this), he said referring to the panel.

READ: DOJ chief defends Duterte memo barring Cabinet execs from attending Senate panel probe

The committee is currently conducting investigation on alleged irregularities in the government’s procurement of COVID-19 pandemic supplies last year.

“I have to protect the Executive department from the incessant and steady dose of insults coming from the senators,” Duterte said. “There ain’t no way that I will withdraw it. You can do your worst and I will do mine,” he added.

The Chief Executive said government employees, including Cabinet members, should be focused on addressing the  pandemic instead of participating in Senate hearings. The President also slammed Senator Francis ‘Kiko’ Pangilinan for threatening government employees.

“I’m told that it was Pangilinan who said that ‘the worst is yet to come’ to mga empleyado (the employees). Who are you to threaten or even to intimidate government workers?” Duterte said. AAC

Duterte tells Filipinos to be a hero like Andres Bonifacio amid pandemic

Robie de Guzman   •   November 30, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday called on Filipinos to “become a hero” like Andres Bonifacio and emulate his strong sense of civic duty and love of country amid challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

As the country marks the 158th birth anniversary of Bonifacio, Duterte said the bravery and patriotism of Bonifacio and other Filipino heroes who fought the colonizers “must serve as guiding post in beating the odds that hinder the country’s progress as a people and as a nation.”

“As we commemorate these events, I invite every Filipino to become a hero like Bonifacio by participating actively in our nation-building efforts, especially in those challenging times when we have to secure our nation’s health, safety, and wellness,” President Duterte said in his speech during the commemoration at the Pinaglabanan Shrine in San Juan City.

“In this light, I call on our kababayans to emulate Gat Andres Bonifacio’s strong sense of civic duty, courage, and love of country in our daily lives, even in the simplest ways. May we be challenged to give our very best for the benefit of our people and nation,” he added.

Duterte also lauded Bonifacio’s bravery, adding that remembering the late hero’s sacrifice for the country’s independence “could provide a sense of hope, determination, and optimism for today’s generation of Filipinos” amid difficult challenges.

“May this event be a constant reminder of the invaluable contribution and selfless sacrifice of our heroes, especially Gat Andres, in paving the way for the liberty and independence that we enjoy today,” he said.

“Indeed, remembering historical events such as these are vital to enriching our understanding and appreciation for our nation’s culture,” he added.

This year’s commemoration of Bonifacio day also marked the opening of the newly restored El Deposito Underground Reservoir and the new diorama exhibit at the Museo ng Katipunan, which showcases the historical Battle of San Juan del Monte.

Duterte thanked the National Historical Commission of the Philippines for undertaking the restoration and rehabilitation of the historical and cultural landmarks, saying these provide the new generation of Filipinos a glimpse of the country’s long and colorful history and heritage.

“I believe that by revisiting and honoring our past, we will be able to impart a stronger sense of nationhood to the present and future generations of Filipinos,” he said.

Also present during the event were Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Cabinet Secretary and Acting Presidential Spokesperson Karlo Alexei Nograles, and San Juan City Mayor Francisco Javier Zamora.

Dargani, Ong to be transferred to Pasay City Jail

Maris Federez   •   November 29, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Senate President Vicente Sotto III has signed the commitment order for the transfer of Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corporation director Linconn Ong and corporate secretary and treasurer Mohit Dargani to the Pasay City Jail.

The order states that the two executives will be placed under the custody of the Pasay City Jail until they answer the questions of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee and submit the documents asked from them by the panel.

At last Friday’s hearing, Dargani said that he no longer has any knowledge on the whereabouts of the boxes containing Pharmally documents since he left for the United States in August. He, however, expressed his willingness to search for the said documents.

Ong and Pharmally’s former Regulatory Affairs Head Krizle Mago also denied knowledge about the said boxes.

“We don’t know where the boxes are, precisely because our house boxes, office boxes, everything is mixed. I want to go back and see what’s happening also,” Dargani said.

However, Senate Sergeant At Arms chief Retired Major General Rene Samonte, in a text message, reported to Blue Ribbon Committee chairperson Richard Gordon that his team was not able to launch the search for the boxes due to Dargani’s refusal to give the needed information.

“Hindi nakaalis kasi ayaw magbigay ng info kung saan pupunta, hindi daw nya alam kung nasaan — office or warehouse or residence. He was told that they can go to all three, pero ayaw pa din,” Samonte’s text message read.

He added that Mohit claimed not knowing whether the said boxes are at the Pharmally head office, in a warehouse, or at their residence.

Samonte also said that Dargani pointed to one of Pharmally’s legal counsel, Attorney Don Kapunan, as the one who knows about the documents.

The Senate official added that he had the Pharmally counsel called up and made the query, in which the lawyer denied any knowledge about the said boxes of documents.

“Ang sabi ni Mohit ay alam daw ni Atty. Kapunan, kaya pinatawagan ko. Muntik na daw mahulog ang lawyer sa upuan, kasi wala daw kaalam alam si Atty. Kapunan kung ano man ang mga documents na yun,” Samonte’s message further read.

“It seems wala talagang boxes and boxes of documents, or ayaw ilabas kung meron man. I recommend ituloy na ang transfer order asap. I will see and talk to them pag may commitment order na to Pasay City Jail,” it continued.

Mohit’s sister, Pharmally president Twinkle Dargani, on the other hand, will stay under the Senate’s custody. —/mbmf (from the report of UNTV Correspondent Harlene Delgado)

Michael Yang petition before SC, a desperate move — Gordon

Maris Federez   •   November 26, 2021

 

MANILA, Philippines — Senate Blue Ribbon Committee chairperson Richard Gordon believes that the decision of former presidential economic adviser, Michael Yang to file a petition before the Supreme Court is a desperate move following the arrest of some officials of Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corporation.

In a statement released Friday (November 26), Gordon said Yang had been caught lying several times in front of the lawmakers in the committee hearings, and that he is now afraid to go out after the arrest of Pharmally executives Linconn Ong, Mohit Dargani, and Twinkle Dargani.

“Maraming beses nang nagsinungaling si Michael Yang sa Senado. Lumalabas na siya’y takot ngayon lumabas ng kanyang tahanan matapos mahuli ang mga kasamahan sa negosyong sina Linconn Ong, at magkapatid na Mojit at Twinkle Dargani,” Gordon said.

The senator also said that Yang’s move is out of desperation to circumvent Blue Ribbon’s investigation on the questionable government procurement of medical supplies from Pharmally.

“Ang pagsampa niya ng kaso sa Korte Suprema ay bahagi ng desperadong tangkang pagpapa-ikot sa Senate Blue Ribbon Committee sa isinasagawa nitong imbestigasyon sa katiwaliang naganap sa gitna ng pandemya,” he said.

Gordon insists that the Blue Ribbon only defends the rights of Filipinos which weigh far greater than the privilege enjoyed by foreigners who live in lies.

“Ipinagtatanggol ng Komite ang karapatan ng mga taumbayan, na higit mas matimbang kaysa sa pribilehiyo ng isang banyagang nabubuhay sa kasinungalingan,” Gordon said.

Yang’s lawyer, Atty. Raymond Fortun earlier said his client will attend the Blue Ribbon Committee’s 15th hearing on the Pharmally issue.

However, Fortun said that Yang wasn’t able to attend the hearing due to an illness. —/mbmf (from the report of UNTV Correspondent Harlene Delgado)

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