Senate of the Philippines

Ex-DBM exec Lao asks Senate to reconsider arrest order, but Gordon says no

Dwight de Leon
Ex-DBM exec Lao asks Senate to reconsider arrest order, but Gordon says no
Senator Richard Gordon is not moved by Lloyd Christopher Lao's appeal, and points out that he disrespected the upper chamber

Former budget undersecretary Lloyd Christopher Lao asked the Senate through a letter in early November to reconsider its arrest order against him, but blue ribbon committee chairman Senator Richard Gordon eventually refused.

In his November 5 letter, Lao argued he attended successive hearings from August to September, but lamented how he was berated and “treated like a criminal without rights.”

“I am respectfully moving for a reconsideration of the order dated November 4, 2021,” Lao wrote, referring to the Senate’s decision to cite him in contempt that day for snubbing for the fourth time a hearing on alleged anomalies in pandemic contracts.

“I am more than willing to attend and testify if heretofore called upon in a non-hostile Senate inquiry as I would not willingly put myself into the firing line moreso purposely participate in a proceeding where my constitutional rights are trampled and disregarded,” he added in the letter, a copy of which reporters obtained on Monday, November 22.

Gordon, however, was undeterred, pointing out that the refusal of the former Department of Budget and Management (DBM) official to attend four hearings “constrained the committee” to cite him in contempt.

“After the citation and an order of arrest had been duly issued, you have made yourself even more scarce, exhibiting your lack of respect for legal processes of a duly constituted authority,” Gordon said in his reply letter to Lao on November 15.

“[T]he order of arrest will continue to subsist and the search for your person will not cease until the sergeant-at-arms is able to take you into custody.”

Senators have been conducting marathon hearings to investigate how Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corporation – the government’s biggest pandemic-time supplier – used its Malacañang connections to win P10 billion worth of deals.

The signatory to many of the firm’s contracts and purchase orders was Lao, former head of the Procurement Service-DBM who also used to work for Malacañang, under the office of then-special assistant to the President and now senator Bong Go. – Rappler.com

Dwight de Leon

Dwight de Leon is a multimedia reporter who covers local government units and the Commission on Elections for Rappler.