‘Wrong strategy’ : Roque on Pacquiao’s corruption allegations, ‘politicking’

Marje Pelayo   •   July 1, 2021   •   845

MANILA, Philippines – Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque called Senator Manny Pacquaio’s recent statements about the alleged corruption in the government as ‘politicking’, knowing that the senator is running for a key position in the 2022 national elections.

Roque added that such a move is a “wrong strategy” on the part of Pacquiao for the upcoming polls.

“Politika po iyan. Alam naman nating lahat na gustong tumakbong presidente ni Pacquiao. Sa akin po hindi tamang istratehiya iyan,” the Palace spokesman said during Thursday’s (July 1) press briefing in Iloilo City.

Roque said President Rodrigo Duterte is waiting for Pacquiao to provide the Palace a list of government agencies he claims as corrupt, one of which is the Department of Health (DOH).

“Inaantay ni presidente ang listahan [niya] ng mga corrupt na ahensya ng gobyerno. Bagaman ang isa sa sinasabi niya sa mga ahensya na iyon ay DOH, iyan naman po ay naimbestigahan ng mabuti ng senado. So wala pong bago,” Roque said referring to Pacquiao.

The boxer senator recently named the DOH as among the top corrupt government offices in the country.

He cited as example the agency’s purchases made for personal protective equipment (PPE) and overpriced test kits during the early days of the country’s fight against COVID-19.

As for the 2022 elections, Roque said Duterte has been pondering who to endorse for the presidential race.

He said Duterte might choose among three contenders, one of whom was Pacquiao.

Duterte on Pacquiao’s corruption allegations: ‘I think he’s punch-drunk’

Marje Pelayo   •   July 13, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday night lambasted Senator Manny Pacquiao  anew for alleging that billions of pesos have been lost to corruption in government agencies.

Pacquiao earlier alleged that the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) failed to properly distribute P10 billion worth of financial aid from the Social Amelioration Program (SAP).

“Mga kaibigan huwag kayong maniwala diyan,” Duterte said during his public address Monday night.

“Papayag ba naman ang [Commission on Audit]? Hindi lang iyan. Papayag ba kami? Papayag ba ang mga secretary ng mga departamento na ganun may mawala 10 billion? That is a statement coming from a guy who is punch-drunk, lasing,” he added.

Pacquiao claimed anomaly in the DSWD’s transaction with the digital wallet service provider Starpay Corporation.

The boxer-senator said he has evidence to prove that the program is missing P10 billion in SAP funds and that he will ask the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee to investigate.

Both DSWD and Starpay have denied the allegations.

Pacquiao’s accusations came after President Duterte challenged him to prove his claims that corruption under the Duterte government has worsened.

The Chief Executive said the senator’s corruption claims are just part of a strategy given the latter’s obvious plan to take the highest position in the upcoming 2022 elections. MNP (with reports from Nel Maribojoc)

DOE refutes Pacquiao’s corruption allegations

Aileen Cerrudo   •   July 7, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Energy (DOE) on Wednesday (July 7) refuted Senator Manny Pacquiao’s corruption allegations, saying the senator lacked research on the issue.

Pacquiao claimed that the energy department awarded the Independent Electricity Market Operator of the Philippines (IEMOP) a contract without going through any bidding process.

“Mula sa P7,000 paid-up capital ay naging instant billion-peso company ang IEMOP sa loob lamang po ng isang taon,” according to Pacquiao.

(From a P7,000 paid-up capital, the IEMOP instantly became a billion-peso company in just one year.)

During a public briefing on Wednesday, DOE Asec. Gerardo Erguiza Jr. denied these claims and stated that the senator lacked research regarding the issue.

“Medyo ill-advised po yata dito si Sen. Pacquiao at kulang ng research no, dahil wala pong ganoon na pangyayari dito,” he said.

(Senator Pacquiao must have been ill-advised and lacked research because no such thing has happened here.)

Erguiza said that there was no need to go through any bidding process and that the IEMOP is under the mandate of the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA). He reiterated that the DOE is not involved in the operations of the IEMOP.

“Hindi naman involved ang DOE sa pagpapatakbo ng independent market operator. Pagdating sa operations, wala hong pakialam ang Department of Energy diyan,” he said.

(The DOE is not involved in the business of the independent market operator. The DOE has nothing to do with the operations.)

However, the DOE official said they are prepared to face any hearing and are willing to provide documents regarding any investigation on the alleged corruption.

Meanwhile, Senator Richard Gordon said the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee would need basis and evidence regarding Pacquiao’s allegations before conducting any hearing. Gordon said they have not received requests or any documents from Pacquiao.

“Investigation of corruption cases must proceed but my committee cannot investigate based merely on newspaper accounts. I have neither received any request nor has any Resolution been filed regarding Senator Manny Pacquiao’s allegations. Moreover, no documents have been shared with us,” he said in a statement.

“The Blue Ribbon must know what it will be specifically investigating. It cannot go willy-nilly into any battlefield without knowledge of the what, the who, the how, the when, and the damage it caused the government. Unfortunately, we have yet to see the specificity of the allegations,” he added.

However, Gordon said he has instructed the Blue Ribbon staff, as well as his own office staff, to get in touch with the authorities to find out any basis regarding the issues and will immediately act accordingly. -AAC (with reports from Harlene Delgado)

Gordon asks Pacquiao to file reso, give Senate panel specific facts on corruption claims

Robie de Guzman   •   July 7, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Senator Richard Gordon on Wednesday called on Senator Manny Pacquiao to provide specific details and documents that would enable the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee to launch an investigation into his allegations of corruption in various government agencies.

In a statement, Gordon said Pacquiao has yet to file a resolution or request for an investigation regarding his corruption claims.

“Investigation of corruption cases must proceed but my committee cannot investigate based merely on newspaper accounts. I have neither received any request nor has any Resolution been filed regarding Senator Manny Pacquiao’s allegations. Moreover, no documents have been shared with us,” he said.

Despite this, Gordon, who chairs the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, assured that he will not shirk his duties and responsibilities.

He also said that Pacquiao’s claims, like any other allegations, should be taken seriously.

“But before we can even think of proceeding, the Blue Ribbon must know what it will be specifically investigating. It cannot go willy-nilly into any battlefield without knowledge of the what, the who, the how, the when, and the damage it caused the government. Unfortunately, we have yet to see the specificity of the allegations,” the senator said.

While the Senate panel may call for a motu proprio investigation, Gordon said that he needs to see specific facts surrounding the alleged offenses committed.

“In legal parlance, I need a bill of particulars to be fair to all concerned. The tremendous powers of the Blue Ribbon Committee cannot be exercised in a cavalier fashion that could only lead to abuse. We are not in the business of chasing ghosts. We are in the business of doing what is right,” he said.

In the meantime, Gordon said he has instructed the Blue Ribbon staff to get in touch with the authorities to find out whether there is “smoke and fire” that is right behind it.

“If there is basis, I will not hesitate to act and do what is right,” he said.

Pacquiao over the weekend claimed that there was corruption in the budget for COVID-19 response of some government agencies, particularly the Department of Health, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Department of Energy, and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

He then left for the United States to train for his boxing match in August.

He did not present documents but said he has a witness to prove irregularities in aid disbursement. He also promised to present more corruption allegations after he returns from his boxing bout.

The agencies accused of corruption have all expressed their willingness to cooperate with any probe.

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