House probe on 2020 government overpricing issue ‘trabaho lang’

September 20, 2021 Ryan Ponce Pacpaco 357 views
THE chairman of the House committee on good government and public
accountability on Monday assured the public that unlike in the Senate,
there’s no ulterior motive behind the House inquiry into the alleged
overpricing of medical supplies procured by the government for
coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) response in 2020.
DIWA Party-list Rep. Michael Edgar Aglipay said his committee’s
mandate is to investigate public officials involved in corruption and
it “must be done swiftly, expeditiously, and without any fanfare.”
“It should not be for media mileage and never in aid of election or
reelection. Trabaho lang po,” Aglipay said, as he took a swipe at the
Senate investigation on the billions of pesos worth of medical
supplies bought by the Procurement Service of the Department of Budget
and Management (PS-DBM) from Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp.
Aglipay also addressed critics who claim that his committee’s
investigation on the same issue is out to defend President Rodrigo
“Rody” Roa Duterte and his administration, saying he’s “independent
from all politics.”
“I am for the people. I am pro-Filipino. Hindi po ako pro- or
anti-government. This is the essence of democracy where all sides are
allowed to speak, and in doing so we will only speak on the topic at
hand,” Aglipay said.
“Hindi naman namin kayo nililigaw because if public officials do that,
then they obviously have political agenda,” he added.
The panel chief also dismissed the Senate probe as mere politicking
“in aid of election, not in aid of legislation,” considering that
Commission on Audit Chairman Michael Aguinaldo himself declared during
the previous hearing that there were no findings of overpricing in the
COVID-19 supplies procured by PS-DBM during the onset of the pandemic
last year.
Aglipay noted that the Senate, particularly its Blue Ribbon Committee,
has always held highly publicized hearings “six to eight months before
the next presidential elections.”
“It’s like clockwork to topple the frontliner in the next elections,”
Aglipay said. “In 2010, Senator Manny Villar was the frontrunner, and
they did this hearing with alleged double insertion on the C5
extension.”
He added: “In 2016, the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee also did this to
former Vice President Jejomar Binay for his alleged hacienda in
Batangas. Now, they are doing this again with the alleged overpricing
of equipment purchased from Pharmally.”
“I dare say that in the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee hearings, we see
and hear at least four potential presidential or vice presidential
candidates who savor every minute they can get from free TV coverage
and publicity,” Aglipay pointed out.
Aglipay called on fellow lawmakers “not to waste the Filipino people’s
time” and “not distract Cabinet officials from the true task at hand,
and that is to continue fighting the virus.”
“Let us not waste taxpayers’ money by holding more hearings. Let us
not make use of these hearings to further political ambition,” Aglipay
said.

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