Senator Richard Gordon called President Rodrigo Duterte “Atty,” saying that the latter is "no longer president."
Gordon blasted Duterte for jumping to the defense of his former economic advisor, Michael Yang, as well as other individuals involved in Pharmally’s questionable government contracts.
“The reason they can’t answer is because Atty. Duterte is already answering for them. He’s no longer the President of the Philippines. A president takes his oath before the country and says ‘I will protect and defend my countrymen,'” the senator said as his panel resumed its probe of the issue on Friday (September 17).
Gordon went on to say that instead of reporting on the government pandemic’s response, Duterte had been wasting time defending Yang and the others involved.
The Blue Ribbon Committee is investigating over P8.6 billion ($172 million) worth of pandemic-related supply contracts awarded by the Department of Budget and Management-Procurement Service (DBM-PS) to the foreign-owned firm in 2020.
Yang was first tied to the controversy after a video surfaced showing him introducing Pharmally executives to Duterte in Davao City. Former DBM-PS chief Christopher Lao, a member of Duterte's campaign team in 2016, was also questioned by Gordon’s committee.
Duterte also defended Lao, who was the one to award the deal to Pharmally.
The president argued that there is nothing wrong with appointing his fraternity brother who has worked with him since he was the mayor of Davao City. He stressed, however, that Lao should not be spared if he is found to be guilty of any lapses.
“What's wrong with paying a debt of gratitude? You're asking where he came from. He's my fraternity brother. But if you find that he did something wrong, send him to jail,” he said.
Gordon, however, questioned the president's tirades against his panel's investigation. “We have not judged anyone yet. It seems like every time something comes out, the President becomes rattled, why do you need to defend them?” he asked.
Ana Catalina Paje is a development journalist passionate about grassroots communication geared towards genuine social change. She also writes about showbiz, lifestyle, and all things Pinoy pride. The views expressed are her own.
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