Press Release
October 5, 2021

Senate inquiry shouldn't be used for political mudslinging - Tolentino

MANILA - Senator Francis 'Tol' N. Tolentino said that the ongoing Senate Blue Ribbon Committee probe in connection with the "Pharmally controversy" must not be used as a venue for political mudslinging.

Tolentino made his appeal to his colleagues during the 11th hearing of the Blue Ribbon panel on Tuesday over the national government's alleged overprice procurement of medical supplies with private firm Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corporation.

"None of us will go forward, unless we go forward together and united as Filipinos," he said

According to Tolentino, the Blue Ribbon panel should promote "unity and not divisiveness" as well as "hope and not despair," amid the ongoing clash between some members of the upper chamber and the executive branch.

"Let this be known... that in the privacy of my heart and in the sanctuary of the Constitution, naniniwala po ako na iyong Bulwagan po nating ito ay hindi dapat magpalaganap ng hidwaan sa ating lipunan, bagkus ay dapat po itong magsulong ng pag-asa," said Tolentino.

While Tolentino believed that the ongoing motu proprio probe should lead in uncovering the whole truth over the alleged overpricing in the procurement of medical supplies by the government, he stressed that the Blue Ribbon panel or any other Senate committee must not be utilized as place for political bickering.

He also noted that while he is hopeful the principle of separation of powers under the Constitution will be respected by the executive branch and all those invited by the Senate should attend the ongoing investigation, he also appealed to his colleagues to render the proper and necessary respect to the Office of the President, and President Rodrigo Duterte himself.

Tolentino stressed that due process of law demands that those who are not present in the ongoing Senate proceedings "should not be assailed"--and that includes everyone.

"Igalang po natin ang karapatan ng isa't isa, and I say this again--it refers to all, including President Duterte," he said.

During the course of the Pharmally probe, Tolentino has proposed at least nine legislations that would prevent further misuse of government funds in the future.

Among those measures Tolentino was able to device from the said Senate inquiry include the proposed amendment to the Administrative Code of 1987, so that those so-called "officers-in-charge" (OICs) will have time-bound limited powers and limited signing authorities; the proposed amendment to the Government Procurement Act which seeks to limit the Government Procurement Policy Board (GPPB) from frequently amending its own implementing rules and regulations (IRRs); and a bill that seeks to institutionalized a "Filipino First policy" in the government procurement system.

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