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Senators dismiss Duterte’s martial law tag on probe

Paolo Romero - The Philippine Star
Senators dismiss Duterteâs martial law tag on probe
Senate President Vicente Sotto III described Duterte’s claim that the inquiry was like “martial law” and was “obviously a mislay.”
STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines — Senators dismissed yesterday President Duterte’s latest tirades against the Senate and vowed not to be intimidated or distracted from continuing its probe on alleged anomalies in the administration’s procurement of COVID-19 supplies.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III described Duterte’s claim that the inquiry was like “martial law” and was “obviously a mislay.”

“He should instead explain the Lamborghinis, the Porsches of Pharmally executives, the wasted half a billion pesos worth of substandard, expired Pharmally test kits and the grossly overpriced masks and face shields,” Sen. Francis Pangilinan said.

Sen. Panfilo Lacson also described Duterte’s description as erroneous and “grossly misinformed” on the issue of the construction of the new Senate building, “hence he barked up the wrong tree.”

“The President should know better. He used to be a congressman. He knows the powers of Congress under the Constitution,” Lacson told ANC.

Lacson said Duterte should have asked the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), being the procuring and implementing agency of the project.

He said it was the DPWH that prepared the program of works, terms of reference and all bid documents, including the cost of the building.

The Senate representative was only an observer during the bidding process, Lacson said.

“In fact, after the notice of award was issued, I took time to warn the contractor in the presence of some DPWH officials against giving SOP’s (bribe) to anyone and in whatever form, particularly on the construction of the new Senate building,” he said.

Lacson noted it was within the powers of the Senate to cite Pharmally executive Linconn Ong in contempt and detain him in the premises of the Senate.

“We can even transfer him to other facilities. That’s how it is. He has been evasive in his answers to the senators,” Lacson said.

“As long as he refuses to cooperate, he will stay under detention until such time we have approved the committee report if and when it is submitted by the Blue Ribbon committee chairman or the committee itself,” he added.

PRESIDENT DUTERTE SENATORS
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