MANILA, Feb 7 (Mabuhay) — President Rodrigo Duterte is liable for letting his appointees get away with alleged anomalous government deals with pharmaceutical firm Pharmally, Senator Richard Gordon said Monday as he urged his colleagues to sign the Senate committee’s report on the issue.
The Gordon-led Senate Blue Ribbon committee, in its draft report, had criticized Duterte for intervening in their investigation and for his failure to go after those being tagged in the alleged anomalies.
‘Public funds plundered’: Senate committee seeks raps vs Duque, Pharmally execs
“Kung pinabayaan niya ang kanyang tungkulin, hindi niya pinahuli ang mga taong nakikita nang gumagawa ng katiwalian. Siya ang nag-appoint at nakikita niya ang kanyang kaibigan ay talagang kumukuha ng sandamakmak na salapi, di niya sinasabihan ang (anti-) money laundering (council) hulihin niyo na yan,” he said.
“Di niya sinasabi sa NBI (National Bureau of Investigation) hulihin niyo si (former Budget Undersecretary Lloyd Christopher) Lao, ay meron siyang kasalanan.”
Eight senators have so far signed the committee report, according to Gordon. Aside from the chairman, these include Senators Manny Pacquiao, Franklin Drilon, Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, Risa Hontiveros, Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan, and Leila de Lima.
When asked if Gordon would be willing to remove the President in the committee report, he said, “Let the axe fall where it may.”
“What kind of a Blue Ribbon (committee) would you have, if you’re not going to make hard decisions? Can anybody in this country na nanood, nagbasa, sinabi ko na from the very beginning–kaibigan niya sila Lao, (Former economic adviser Michael) Yang, minura niya kami pati nanay ko. Can anybody think he doesn’t know anything about it?” he said.
(Can anybody in this country who watched the hearings, read about it, I said it form the very beginning–he’s friends with Lao, Yang, he cursed me and even my mother.)
“Can anybody think he’s not hiding anything? Magisip naman tayo. ‘Wag niyo na ko kampihan. Pag binasa niyo, maiisip niyo ba talagang walang involvement ang executive dito?”
(Let’s think. Don’t side with me. If you read the report, can you really say the executive branch has no involvement here?)
Members of the committee should “at least sign” to indicate whether to amend the report, Gordon said.
“I am not surprised, let’s put it that way. There’s no room for happiness or disappointment, it is a deliberative body,” he said.
“We will never be a respectable country unless we can stand up and say this is the decision. There are many decisions that circumstantial evidence when directly connected is as a good as direct evidence.”
He added, “Nakikiusap ako para madebate. Kung ayaw nila, yung Dengvaxia di nga ako umabot eh.”
When asked whether he’s concerned about the upcoming elections, Gordon said “Being the senator is not an end all be all but I’m going to win. I’m winning right now, I’m number 8 (in the surveys).”
“Kung matalo ako, tanggap ko yan, volunteer ako ng Red Cross for 48 years now, wala akong suweldo dyan happy ako dyan,” he said. (MNS)