Press Release
April 28, 2010

Loren to Mar: Answer charges squarely

NP-NPC-LDP vice presidential candidate Loren Legarda challenged Senator Mar Roxas to be man enough to answer charges against him on the cheaper medicine issue directly and clearly, stressing there should be proper closure on the controversy so that the truth will come out before the elections.

Legarda said Roxas should not dismiss the charges against him as just black propaganda and should not hide behind the skirt of Party-list Rep. Risa Hontiveros-Baraquel to defend him in press releases and in advertisements that contain questionable claims and vague generalities.

"Are you (Roxas) afraid of losing votes?," the lady senator said. "Are you afraid of the truth?"

Legarda said Rep. Ferjenel Biron and Iloilo Vice Gov. Rolex Suplico have called Roxas a liar repeatedly and have challenged their fellow Ilonggo to a debate many times, only to be met with silence or to be dismissed as smear job practitioners. "If the charges are just black propaganda, why doesn't Senator Roxas prove this by accepting the challenge to a debate so the truth will come out?," she said. "Is he afraid to be unmasked as credit-grabber and as alleged agent of multinational drug companies?"

Legarda said Roxas should submit proof to his claim that he is the father of the law by submitting a copy of the bill he filed in the Senate which was the basis of the Cheaper Medicine Act and he should submit records of the bicameral conference committee showing he fought against the interest of multinationals.

She said the facts show that Roxas filed only a bill in the Senate to amend the Intellectual Property Law by allowing parallel drug importation which would have only benefitted foreign companies more than ordinary Filipino consumers.

Suplico said he filed the original cheaper medicine bill in the 11th Congress even before Roxas became senator. The Iloilo official refiled the bill in the 12th Congress and in the 13th Congress, this time with Biron as co-author.

In the 14h Congress when Suplico was already Iloilo vice governor, Biron refiled the bill as its principal author. This time, the bill passed and was submitted to the Senate trade and industry committee, headed by Roxas.

Biron said Roxas exerted all pressure to castrate the House bill by removing the mandatory and automatic price regulation and the price regulation board amid reports that the multinational drug companies have put up a P1-billion lobby fund to water down the legislation.

"So who is telling the truth and who is lying?," Legarda said. "If Senator Mar does not come out into the open and debate the issue with Biron or Suplico, it will be clear he is the one who is lying and who is afraid of the truth."

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