President Rodrigo Duterte’s office will leave it up to the Department of Justice (DOJ) to decide on whether or not it should begin an investigation into the alleged tampering of face shields by Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corporation.
“We leave that to the Department of Justice to decide,” said Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque on Monday, September 27, when asked during a press briefing by Rappler what the executive branch would do about the revelations from the Senate hearings on pandemic procurement.
The DOJ is led by the justice secretary who takes instructions from the President.
Roque also said the testimonies at the Senate are not yet strong.
“Tatayo ba ‘yung ganyang testimonya? Tingnan natin. Kailangan po ‘yan i-substantiate…. Physical evidence dapat ang bigyan natin sa hukuman. Hanapan pa po natin ng substantiated evidence, hindi lang ‘yung testimonya ng isang tao,” said Roque.
(Will that testimony stand? Let’s see. That needs to be substantiated. We should give physical evidence to our courts. Let’s look for substantiated evidence, not just the testimony of one person.)
Two Pharmally personnel, not one – corporate secretary Krizle Grace Mago and an alleged Pharmally employee who handled the face shields – claimed they had switched production date stickers of face shields purchased by the government to reflect a later production date.
Asked how the executive branch would “look into” the allegations if it would still wait for the DOJ to decide on the matter, Roque speculated that the Department of Health (DOH) would conduct a probe.
“I’m sure that the DOH will look into the allegation and see if it’s in fact verified,” said Roque.
But Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, in a House hearing on Monday that is ongoing as of writing, has yet to mention any formal probe and even downplayed the tampering of face shields, saying they have a 36-month shelf life anyway.
Duterte won’t tolerate abuse
Roque said that if the allegations of Mago and the anonymous employee are proven true, Duterte would “not tolerate” the deception.
“The President will not tolerate if that’s really what happened,” said Roque.
Asked if the Senate investigation would find evidence directly linking Duterte to the anomalies or to corruption, Roque said “absolutely not,” then called the accusations “noise.”
Duterte has so far only repeatedly defended government officials involved in sealing contracts with Pharmally and cleared Pharmally guarantor and financier Michael Yang, his former economic adviser, of any wrongdoing. – Rappler.com