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Duque justifies PS-DBM procurement

Duterte also defended Yang, who was also dragged in the alleged overpriced masks and face shields procured by the government

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Health Secretary Francisco Duque III

“During the onset of the pandemic in March, a lot of our personnel were in quarantine or in isolation facilities so we were not able to participate in the bidding and award process,”

The agency did nothing anomalous with Pharmally, as the PS-DBM was the one who chose the supplier of personal protective equipment (PPE) and other Covid-19 supplies.

“If we did not ask for help, our health workers would not have received their PPE. A lot of healthcare workers would have died if we didn’t do that,”

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III on Sunday defended the decision of the Department of Health (DoH) to let the Procurement Service of the Department of Budget and Management (PS-DBM) procure Covid-19 supply and equipment from Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corporation.

“During the onset of the pandemic in March, a lot of our personnel were in quarantine or in isolation facilities so we were not able to participate in the bidding and award process,” Duque said in a radio interview.

“Aside from that, we also conduct our own bidding with a limited number of people who are not even working full time. Meanwhile, PS-DBM has full-time employees who do bidding. So we asked for help,” he added.

He also reiterated that the agency did nothing anomalous with Pharmally, as the PS-DBM was the one who chose the supplier of PPE and other Covid-19 supplies.

“We are not linked to that because we were the ones who sent the funds to them,” he said.

The statement came after the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee recommended filing of criminal charges against former PS-DBM head Christopher Lao, former Overall Deputy Ombudsman Warren Liong, and former presidential economic adviser Michael Yang.

In the Senate panel’s preliminary findings, Senator Richard Gordon called the transaction between PS-DBM and Pharmally a “grand conspiracy,” which defrauded the government of billions of pesos amid the pandemic.

Duque said the agency decided to tap the PS-DBM to support the immediate need of health workers who were in dire need of medical supplies.

“If we did not ask for help, our health workers would not have received their PPE. A lot of healthcare workers would have died if we didn’t do that,” he said.

For his part, President Rodrigo Duterte denied his involvement in the transaction between the government and PS-DBM.

Duterte also defended Yang, who was also dragged in the alleged overpriced masks and face shields procured by the government.

The Chinese businessman served as presidential economic adviser in 2018.

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