Press Release
December 31, 2021

Gordon decries impunity over attacks vs Senate's independence

Re-electionist Senator Richard J. Gordon has decried the impunity over incessant attacks by some quarters that undermine the respect and independence of the Senate and its members as a co-equal branch of the government.

Gordon said the Senate must continue to assert itself as a co-equal branch of government mandated to exercise its oversight functions despite relentless attacks meant to derail its investigation into the irregularities in the government.

"Once there is impunity, 'yung pagbabastos, dapat titindig ang Senado para ipagtanggol ang independence nito. Kung pababayaan niyo iyan, mawawalan ng bisa ang Senado, lalapastanganin iyan ng kung sinuman ang Presidente," he said in a recent radio interview.

"Kaya tinatawagan ko ang Presidente, iyung salita na hindi magaganda, hindi maganda na susundin ng kabataan yan. At yung paninira, hindi maganda," he added.

As chairman of the Senate blue ribbon committee, Gordon has been leading the Senate investigation into the alleged anomalous contracts the government has entered with favour suppliers for the procurement of COVID-19 pandemic supplies and equipment.

However, Mr. Duterte and his allies have attacked the Senate and its members for initiating the investigation into the pandemic fund mess. Mr. Duterte has also issued an executive order barring his Cabinet officials from attending it.

It may be recalled that Gordon exposed links Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corporation, a company with just PhP625,000 in capital to Mr. Duterte's friend and former economic adviser Michael Yang, also a known Chinese businessman.

"Ang pagtatanggol doon [ni Mr. Duterte] sa nagloloko sa Pharmally, at 'yung kaniyang ginagawa na siya ang nag-appoint ng lahat ng mga ito, sila [Atty. Lloyd Christopher] Lao, hanggang ngayon hindi nahuhuli si Lao," he noted.

"Walang cooperation, hindi napapapunta ang mga cabinet members, ay talagang magkakaroon ng problema ang bayan natin sapagkat hindi natin mahuhuli 'yan," he added.

Senators questioned Lao, former undersecretary of the Budget and Management - Procurement Services, for allowing the purchase of alleged overpriced face masks, face shields, and other equipment, at the height of pandemic last year.

While he is no longer a Cabinet official, Lao has continued to snub the Senate's invitation for him to attend and has since then been in hiding to evade the warrant of arrest issued against him.

Despite the refusal of the executive department to cooperate, the Senate was still able to capture fleeing Pharmally executives Mohit and Twinkle Dargani, who were ready to fly overseas from Davao International Airport.

Through its 17 public hearings, the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee was able to establish links between Yang and Pharmally, as its executives revealed that Yang loaned them money to acquire facemasks.

Gordon is set to wrap up his committee investigation and file a report next year.

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