On Feb. 1, Senator Richard Gordon, chairman of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, released the 113-page draft report on the months-long investigation into the government’s use of pandemic funds and its transactions with Pharmally Pharmaceutical. The report recommended the filing of plunder, graft, and other criminal charges against Health Secretary Francisco Duque, former Budget Undersecretary Christopher Lao, Overall Deputy Ombudsman Rex Warren Liong, Chinese businessman Michael Yang, and Pharmally executives.
The report also said that at some point after his term of office, charges must be considered against Pres. Duterte because he “betrayed the public trust” when he appointed Yang as his economic adviser and allowed him to help Pharmally, a newly created undercapitalized firm, bag a P10-billion contract with the government. The report further said Duterte betrayed public trust when he sought to discredit not just the Senate but also the Commission on Audit whose state auditors first reported on the anomalies in the Pharmally deals.
The report required the signatures of at least 11 of the 20 members of the endorsing committee to be accepted as an official committee report before it could be submitted for plenary deliberation. But as of June 3, only eight senators other than Gordon had signed the report. They were Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto, Senate Minority Leader Frank Drilon, Senators Leila de Lima, Risa Hontiveros, Ping Lacson, Manny Pacquiao, Kiko Pangilinan, and Koko Pimentel.
The other members of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee who did not affix their signature were Senate Majority Leader Migz Zubiri, Senators Sonny Angara, Pia Cayetano, Sherwin Gatchalian, Bong Go, Lito Lapid, Imee Marcos, Grace Poe, Bong Revilla, Francis Tolentino, and Cynthia Villar.
Zubiri and Gatchalian said they would have signed the report if it did not include the name of President Duterte. But the report did not accuse the President of plunder, graft, or any…
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