Pres. Duterte says Senate Blue Ribbon Committee “politicking” during hearing on DOH budget

Says there is no corruption in procurement of PPEs

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte talks to the people after holding a meeting with the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) core members at the Malacañang Palace on September 7, 2021. KING RODRIGUEZ/ PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

(Eagle News) – President Rodrigo Duterte accused the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee headed by Senator Richard Gordon of using the hearings on the Department of Health (DOH) as a venue for “politicking.”

In his Talk to the People aired on Wednesday, Sept. 8, President Duterte explained that the procurement of PPEs, and other needs at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020 as a crisis and emergency situation.

Now, itong sa Blue Ribbon Committee, sa totoo lang, yung ginagawa ninyo ngayon sa administrasyon, is really politicking,” Duterte said during the meeting with cabinet officials held late Tuesday night, Sept 7, until 1 a.m. the next day,

Siguro wala na silang madisplay na nagawa nila, kaya naghanap sila ng ikagagalit ng tao sa akin,” he said.

President Duterte maintained that there is no corruption involved in the emergency procurement of PPEs, including face shields and face masks at the start of the pandemic last year when they were racing against time to provide much needed PPEs for the health workers.

At the time, he said, many health workers and medical doctors were dying successively for lack of PPEs.

There were no PPEs to be bought. The supply of N95 surgical masks had been used up due to the sudden need for this after Taal Volcano erupted in January 2020, he and his cabinet officials explained.  And in other countries, they were also keeping their supplies for themselves as COVID had hit them too.

Tayo may crisis, there is a crisis going on until this very moment. Government was hard-pressed to come up with results. Kailangan bumili tayo ng PPE, mask, cover, face shield, pati cover ng mga sapatos nila,” Duterte said.

Duterte said he would be fully responsible for all his orders to the health and finance department at that time. He said he directed Health Secretary Francisco Duque to procure the needed face masks and other PPEs the soonest possible time, and to forego with the bidding, since doctors were dying.

He said that this is also covered by the Bayanihan to Heal as One act and cited the provisions for this.

He stressed that there was no corruption involved with the procurement of PPEs.

“Walang corruption, ako na mismo ang nagsasabi. Walang corruption,” he said during his latest “Talk To The People” aired on Sept. 8.

“My first order to Secretary Duque (was to) buy all the things dahil namamatay na ang mga doktor. Do not go into a bidding. Bidding will cause more deaths. I will take full responsibility for that,” he said recalling his order at the start of the pandemic last year.

Ako ang presidente, ako ang sisishin ng mga tao pag maraming mga doktor ang namamatay,” he said.

Duterte also said that in the end it is the Filipino voter who can judge through the ballot box.

As for him, he said, his message to the Filipinos is that he did his best and he fulfilled his oath of office.

Sa Pilipino, itong maiiwan ko sa inyo. Bababa rin ako. Matatapos rin ako balang araw. Pero sasabihin ko sa inyo, yung oath of office ko talagang tinupad,” Duterte said.

(Eagle News Service)