House Deputy Speaker Rodante Marcoleta of the Sagip Partylist on Wednesday questioned the Senate’s direction in probing the alleged anomalous purchase of pandemic supplies by the government from the embattled Pharmally company.
“You may have noticed the difference in the approach and manner of questioning by the two houses of Congress,” Marcoleta told reporters during the virtual Ugnayan sa Batasan media forum.
“In the lower House, the difference is that we give them the appropriate time so that they can explain what many think are anomalous procurements in the transfer of DoH (Department of Health) funds to PS-DBM (Procurement Service-Department of Budget and Management),” he added.
Marcoleta raised objections to the senators’ view of the government’s supply contracts with Pharmally as irregular, saying it was the Congress that authorized the emergency purchases amid the Covid-19 crisis through the Bayanihan 1 Law.
“The Commission on Audit (CoA) already said that it did not find an indication of corruption from the contracts or that the supplies were overpriced,” Marcoleta said.
“In the Upper House, the direction of the investigation is that there were corruption, ghost deliveries, and overpricing,” he added.
He noted that the procurement being investigated was exempted from the coverage of Republic Act 9184 or the Government Procurement Reform Act.
The budget officials, he added “went over and above the requirements of the law” by conducting market scanning to ensure the most advantageous price for the government.
“What they are pushing for is inconsistent. If I was President Duterte, I will feel betrayed because it was Congress who gave me the power to be exempted from procurement laws, now they are intimidating my people,” Marcoleta said.
“The resource persons already clarified that there were no anomalies,” he added.
“If they want to find the truth, they must allow them to explain themselves thoroughly. Otherwise, they would always obstruct them whenever they try to point out something,” he said.
Marcoleta revealed that the Committee on Good Government and Public Accountability might conclude its inquiry by Friday.