Paano nangyaring ang Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp., na may kapital na lagpas lang ng bahagya sa P600,000, ay nakopo ang halos P12 bilyong kontrata sa pamahalaan para sa medical supplies sa pagtugon sa pandemya ng Covid-19?
Ito ang nagtatakang tanong ni Senador Panfilo Lacson sa pagpapatuloy ng pagdinig ng Senate Blue Ribbon Committee sa nabanggit na kontrobersya, na pumutok matapos lumabas ang ulat ng Commission on Audit (COA).
Ayon kay Lacson, ang nabanggit na halaga ay bahagi ng P42 bilyon na na inilipat ng Department of Health (DOH) sa Department of Budget and Management Procurement Service (PS-DBM) para ibili ng mga kagamitan sa pagtugon sa Covid-19.
Dahil dito, inatasan ng mambabatas si Pharmally chairman Huang Tzu Yen at director na si Linconn Ong na isumite sa komite ang official records na nagsasaad ng mga kontratang nakuha ng kumpanya pati na rin ang mga kaakibat na halaga.
“Just make sure you base your figures on official records,” paalala ni Lacson, matapos na isiwalat ni Ong na batay sa kanilang “records” ay nakakuha ang Pharmally ng P11 bilyon.
Despite starting up with a little over P600,000, how did Pharmally Pharmaceuticals Corp. corner nearly P12 billion in contracts from the government for medical supplies to address the COVID-19 pandemic?
Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson asked this Monday as he noted the amount is a huge chunk of the P42 billion that the Department of Health transferred to the Department of Budget and Management’s Procurement Service (PS-DBM) to procure the items.
He told Pharmally chairman Huang Tzu Yen and director Linconn Ong to submit to the committee official records showing how many contracts Pharmally bagged, and how much were involved.
“Just make sure you base your figures on official records,” he said, even as Ong cited “records” showing Pharmally may have gotten some P11 billion.
Ito ang nagtatakang tanong ni Senador Panfilo Lacson bunga ng patuloy na pangangamkam sa sakop ng teritoryo ng Pilipinas, pang-aagrabyado at pagkibit-balikat ng China sa mga protestang inihahain ng Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) dahil sa mga ginagawa nito sa West Philippine Sea (WPS).
Bunga ng mga naturang pangyayari, iminungkahi ni Lacson, chairman ng Senate Committee on National Defense, na muling pasadahan ang mga nilalaman ng diplomatic ties ng dalawang bansa.
Sa kanyang Twitter post, nanawagan din ang mambabatas sa mga kasamahang senador na suportahan si DFA Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. sa pagpalag nito sa isa sa pinakahuling ginawa ng China sa mga Pinoy na nasa WPS.
“Maybe a review of the country’s diplomatic relations is timely and called for. All the diplomatic protests that the Secretary of Foreign Affairs filed have been ignored as if nothing was filed at all. The continued incursions and bullying finally got his goat. The Senate must support him in this regard,” banggit ni Lacson.
What kind of friend – or benefactor – would take what is ours, bully us, and ignore our protests?
On this note, Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson is seeking a review of the diplomatic ties between the Philippines and China, in the wake of China’s recent incursions and bullying in the West Philippine Sea.
Lacson also said the Senate should throw its support behind Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr., who in a tweet had told China to “get… out” after filing numerous diplomatic protests over China’s conduct.
“Maybe a review of the country’s diplomatic relations is timely and called for. All the diplomatic protests that the Secretary of Foreign Affairs filed have been ignored as if nothing was filed at all. The continued incursions and bullying finally got his goat. The Senate must support him in this regard,” Lacson, who heads the Senate’s national defense committee, said on his Twitter account late Monday.
While the intention may be good, let us first take a serious look at the situation. Since the Department of Budget and Management already said that the government coffers have dried up, hence funds are no longer available, the bigger question remains: Can we still afford more borrowings intended for dole-outs instead of for other productive purposes to boost our economy? The last thing we need is ending up in a ‘Sisyphean’ situation.
Our best option is to have a sense of urgency and allow the private sector more participation with better flexibility in the vaccination program – true to the government’s ‘whole-of-nation approach’ theme, which is turning out to be mere platitude and lip service.
Then, if we really need to pass Bayanihan 3, the national and local governments must first get their act together to update the data on the intended recipients of the social amelioration program since what the Department of Social Welfare and Development is using is a five-year-old list that is already out of date – hence real-time needs and priorities are not being properly addressed, not to mention the corruption involved in the distribution of such dole-outs because of such a defective list.
Upang matiyak na hindi ito nakikidoble sa ibang ahensiya, kailangang mapag-aralan ang mga umiiral na tungkulin ng Philippine International Trading Center (PITC).
Binigyang-diin ito ni Senador Panfilo Lacson sa harap ng usapin na mistulang napipigilan nito ang pag-realign ng pondo para sa mahahalagang proyekto.
“The issue is this: If the agencies procure items via their own Bids and Awards Committees or the Department of Budget and Management’s Procurement Service, the funds that are not used can be converted into savings. The President, Senate President, House Speaker and Chief Justice are allowed by the Constitution to realign these to other items within their respective offices. But funds with the PITC become idle and are returned to the Treasury,” pagsisiwalat ni Lacson sa panayam ng ABS-CBN News Channel.
“So development is stunted in some ways because funds that should have been available are returned to the Treasury and cannot be realigned for other needs,” dagdag ni Lacson.
Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson on Wednesday stressed the need to revisit the functions of the Philippine International Trading Corp. (PITC), which is turning out to be a redundant agency.
Lacson said the PITC can potentially stunt national development since the funds “entrusted” to it for procurement cannot be used and realigned for urgent programs.
“The issue is this: If the agencies procure items via their own Bids and Awards Committees or the Department of Budget and Management’s Procurement Service, the funds that are not used can be converted into savings. The President, Senate President, House Speaker and Chief Justice are allowed by the Constitution to realign these to other items within their respective offices. But funds with the PITC become idle and are returned to the Treasury,” he said in an interview on ABS-CBN News Channel.
“So development is stunted in some ways because funds that should have been available are returned to the Treasury and cannot be realigned for other needs,” he added.
“This bill seeks to authorize the President, during the time of national emergency, to suspend the requirements for national and local permits, licenses and certifications, and to streamline and expedite the process for the issuance of the same. While this may be a small step, it surely can create a significant impact on all enterprises. Likewise, this move could ease the already heavy burden of the businesses that were heavily hit and continuously being beaten by the gargantuan effects of the pandemic. This Act could be one of the needed breathers of the crumbling enterprises. And ultimately, this will redound to the benefit of our economy and encourage investors to capitalize in the country.” (co-author with Senators Sotto, Recto, Zubiri and Drilon)
I abhor violations of the legislative process, and have called out members of Congress for such acts – such as when they inserted their pork barrel in the National Budget bill after its approval on third and final reading or ratification of the bicameral conference committee report, and before the bill was enrolled.
Why, then, would I make such a stealthy insertion to the Anti-Terrorism Bill as Robles implies?
In an interview on DWIZ, Sen. Lacson answered questions on:
* possible challenge vs Anti-Terror Bill before the Supreme Court [14:31]
* Sen. Drilon voted yes to anti-terror bill [7:04]
* blame game in COVID health workers’ P1M death benefits [29:53]
* Sec. Duque’s other obligations to health workers under Bayanihan Act [35:39]
* ‘removal’ of safeguard vs overpricing in Bayanihan 2 [44:33]
The Senate filed a Petition for Declaratory Relief and Mandamus before the Supreme Court on March 9, 2020, seeking a ruling on the need for Senate concurrence in ending treaties such as the VFA. Sen. Ping Lacson, who was among the petitioners, said the petition will be strengthened by Senate Resolution 337. “We’re not filing this petition in our individual capacity as senators but we’re backed by the whole Senate because of SR 337.”
“The ambiguity on the concurrence of the Senate in the abrogation of treaty involves an issue of transcendental importance that impacts on the country’s constitutional checks and balances. It presents a constitutional issue that seriously affects the country’s legal system as well as the country’s relations with the international community.” (co-author with Senate President Sotto and Senators Drilon, Gordon, Zubiri)
In a phone patch interview on DZBB and GMA News TV, Sen. Lacson notes the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 that was passed in the Senate will lead to a more proactive fight against terrorism, while containing safeguards to prevent possible abuses.
“Be it resolved as it is hereby resolved, to express as it hereby expresses the sense of the Senate to earnestly request the President to reconsider his planned abrogation of the Visiting Forces Agreement in the meantime that the Senate is conducting a review and impact assessment with the end in view of ensuring the continued safety and security of the Philippines and the Asia Pacific and maintain the existing balance of power within the region.” (co-author with Senate President Sotto and Sen. Drilon)
Sen. Lacson is part of the Philippine delegation that participated in the 141st Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union and related meetings in Belgrade, Serbia. Other members of the Philippine delegation include Senate President Tito Sotto, Ralph Recto, Juan Miguel Zubiri, Franklin Drilon, Imee Marcos, Nancy Binay, Sherwin Gatchalian, Bato dela Rosa, Joel Villanueva and Sonny Angara; and Reps. Ferdinand Hernandez and Carlos Zarate.
Sen. Lacson chaired the resumption of the hearing on the 2020 budget of the PDEA and DDB, where the problem of recycling of seized illegal drugs was taken up. Associate Justice Diosdado Peralta and Court Administrator Midas Marquez attended the hearing, upon the Senate’s investigation.
Sen. Lacson cited the problem raised by the PDEA in the previous budget hearing. “Right now, what’s stocked in the warehouse of PDEA is P22B worth of different kinds of drugs. We don’t know because the problem exists as PDEA claims, they have to wait for a court order before they can finally destroy the drugs confiscated. We’d like to find out anong magandang gawin para di ma-recycle ang drugs on account of stocking.”
“… To allow, as it hereby allows, Senator Leila M. de Lima to participate in Senate Plenary Sessions through teleconferencing, video conferencing or other reliable forms of remote or electronic communications through the use of the appropriate electronic equipment and/or devices or medium of information, broadcast or telecommunications facilities or equipment.” (co-author with Sen. Drilon)
Sen. Lacson joins colleagues in explaining their proposed solution to end the 2019 budget impasse. Sen. Lacson also answered questions on:
– Manila Water’s decision to waive fees over water supply row
– Chico River loan agreement
– claims of former policeman Eduardo Acierto
In an interview on DWIZ, Sen. Lacson answered questions on:
– situation of detained Sen. de Lima
– options for new Customs Commissioner Guerrero
– PNPA sex scandal as a ‘test case’ for the Anti-Hazing Law of 2018
– proposed Anti-Terrorism Act of 2018
– Sen. Honasan being eyed to head DICT