The Senate Blue Ribbon Committee has failed to produce evidence to support its corruption allegations against the government in the use of pandemic funds last year, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte said on Monday.
“The simple fact is that the Blue Ribbon Committee has failed to produce anything to prove its accusation of corruption,” President Duterte said in his Talk to the People on COVID-19.
Even Senator Richard Gordon, the committee chairman, conceded that there is no overpricing but still insists on pursuing a partisan inquiry, according to the President.
Even the Commission on Audit (COA) did not claim government money being lost to corruption in the Department of Health (DOH), he said, adding the state auditor did not find any malpractices such as overpricing and ghost deliveries during the procurement of medical supplies.
The administration, particularly the DOH, has already answered all the accusations and inquiries of the Blue Ribbon Committee with regard to the issue, President Duterte noted.
He also called on the lawmakers participating the inquiry to stop politicking and let the government, particularly Cabinet secretaries, to focus on their task of protecting the country and its citizens against COVID-19.
“The inquiry is being done at the expense of dragging government officials and compromising the government’s efforts against COVID-19 at the time when cases are at all-time high and thousands of our people getting sick and dying,” he said.
“Nandito, instead of working overtime, nandito si Secretary Galvez; nandito si Secretary Duque; nandito si Director General when they are supposed to do their homework kasi maraming mga, well, questions and doubts about maraming medisina, even the Ivermectin.”
Gordon’s objective in continuing the probe is to tarnish the good reputation of the administration and to derail its COVID-19 response efforts, especially as the country gears towards the 2022 election, he said.
Meanwhile, President Duterte raised the possibility of the DOH investigating the reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) testing being conducted by the Philippine Red Cross because of unusually high false positive results.
According to the President, he received information that 44 out of 49 or 89.79 percent of total hospital personnel who tested positive in PRC testing turned out negative in another molecular laboratory.
He added that “187 out of 213 or 87.79 percent of the Presidential Security Group personnel tested positive in the PRC Manila Laboratory but tested negative in their confirmatory test.”
Officials of the Department of Finance reported similar experience when they tested positive in PRC testing facilities but eventually had negative results on their confirmatory tests.
“Because of this information, then maybe the DOH must investigate this matter. You could be putting more people at risk. You could be falsely adding to the total positive cases per day of this country,” President Duterte said.
“Ilan ‘yung nadagdag doon sa positive sa isang araw, daily attack, na negative? Nasali na doon sa numero na napakarami na ang nagkasakit. How sure are we now in our figures in the veracity and truthfulness of the test combined eh marami man rin nagpunta diyan sa Red Cross?”
Philippine Red Cross is a humanitarian organization in the country that is committed on various social welfare services and promoting volunteerism currently chaired by Senator Gordon. PND