Roque clarifies remark on price of PPEs bought by PNoy admin

Robie de Guzman   •   September 2, 2021   •   422

MANILA, Philippines – Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque on Thursday clarified his earlier remarks about the personal protective equipment (PPE) procured by the Aquino administration for health care workers.

Roque said he did not accuse the previous administration of purchasing overpriced PPEs as he only revealed its P3,500 price per piece to put in perspective the overpricing allegation being hurled against the Duterte administration.

“Mga kababayan, bago natin i-conclude na nagkaroon ng pandarambong at nagkaroon ng overpriced, tanungin natin, overpriced ba ang P1,950 gayong nabili ang exact same na PPE na level 4 sa halagang P3,500? Di ko naman po sinasabi na overpriced ang P3,500,” he said during a Palace press briefing.

Roque brought up the amount of PPEs procured by the previous administration to support his earlier stance that the batch purchased by the Department of Budget and Management during the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 was not overpriced.

He also maintained that he was not trying to divert the issue as alleged by Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, a member of the Liberal Party.

“Ang isyu overpricing, natural titingnan natin kung magkano ang exact, same PPE ng nakalipas na administrasyon. Lumalabas, wala naman overpricing: P1,900 ang binili ng pamahalaan ni President Duterte, P3,500 at P3,800 ang binili ng inyong sinuportahan,” he said.

“So focus na lang tayo sa tunay na issue,” he added.

The Senate is currently investigating the contracts entered into by the Duterte administration during the COVID-19 pandemic, including the P8.68 billion awarded to Pharmally.

As to allegations that some of Pharmally’s personnel are fugitives and have questionable background, Roque said the government does not look into the personal lives of the stockholders when buying pandemic supplies.

“Sa batas po, we have a principle. Corporation has separate and distinct personality from the stockholders. Ang nag-bid po yung korporasyon, so hindi naman po kinakailangang busisiin talaga ang personalidad nasa nasa likod korporasyon kasi nga po separate personality yun,” he said.

 

Philippines yet to receive formal request from ICC for proof of probe into drug war deaths – Palace

Robie de Guzman   •   November 24, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines has yet to receive a formal request from the International Criminal Court (ICC) to provide concrete information that it is conducting investigations into allegations involving the government’s campaign against illegal drugs, Malacañang said Wednesday.

Acting Presidential Spokesperson Karlo Nograles issued the statement following reports that ICC Prosecutor Khan will ask the Philippine government to provide substantiating information regarding its probe into allegations of crime committed under its war against drugs.

“We would like to clarify that we have yet to receive a formal request with regard to this matter. That being said, we reiterate our position that the ICC has no jurisdiction to probe our campaign against illegal drugs,” Nograles said.

“Clearly, the ICC prosecutor’s request for information is an acknowledgment that alleged victims can seek redress in Philippine legal institutions because these are independent, impartial, and competent,” he added.

Moreover, Nograles said that the ICC prosecutor’s statement “validates our earlier position that the ICC is the court of last resort, one that can be utilized when a State Party is unwilling to investigate and prosecute those who violate its laws.”

“This is simply not the case in the Philippines. Our criminal justice system continues to be capable and functional, and a case in point is the signing of the Philippine National Police and the National Bureau of Investigation of an agreement to conduct cooperative investigations,” he said.

Nograles stressed that this serves as “evidence that a culture of impunity does not exist in our country as local institutions have demonstrated their commitment to accountability.”

Khan, in a statement posted on Tuesday, said the Duterte administration must submit concrete proof that its is investigating allegations involving its war on drugs after the ICC deferred its probe upon the request of the Philippine government.

The ICC deferred the probe after the government said that investigations on reported deaths during anti-drug operations are underway.

“Such information must consist of tangible evidence, of probative value and a sufficient degree of specificity, demonstrating that concrete and progressive investigative steps have been or are currently being undertaken,” the statement read.

Philippine Ambassador to the Netherlands Eduardo Malaya wrote Khan that the country’s Department of Justice (DOJ) has already referred to the National Bureau of Investigation the 52 cases it reviewed, where administrative liability was found on the part of concerned law enforcers.

Members of the National Union of People’s Lawyers and the Free Legal Assistance Group have called on the ICC to resume its probe, saying the DOJ is only looking at several cases out of tens of thousands of killings allegedly linked to the drug war.

Malacañang leaves naming of cocaine-using candidate to President Duterte

Maris Federez   •   November 19, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang will leave it to President Rodrigo Duterte to name the presidential candidate in the 2022 national and local elections whom he disclosed is into cocaine.

Duterte made the disclosure during his speech on Thursday in the province of Oriental Mindoro.

“May kandidato tayo na nagko-cocaine ‘yan. ‘Yung anak ng mayaman. Kaya nga nagtaka ako. Anong nagawa ng tao na yan? I am just asking what contribution has he made para sa Pilipinas? ‘Yan lang ang gusto kong tanungin,” Duterte said.

Acting Presidential spokesperson Secretary Karlo Nograles believes that Duterte has a strong basis for his revelation, pointing out that the President has access to varied sources of information to back his claims.

Nograles said it is up to the president to name the said presidential aspirant at a proper time.

“Si Pangulo siyempre has access to many resources including intel reports on naming the said individual,” Nograles said,

“We will leave it to the sound judgement of the president. So nasa discretion na po ng pangulo kung papangalanan ba niya at kung kailan at kung magdesisyon ba siya na pangalanan ang indibidual na yan,” he added.

Nograles stressed that as the war on drugs is the foremost campaign of the Duterte administration, it doesn’t discriminate against whoever is involved in illegal drugs.

He said there are proper agencies that will investigate and file cases on the said individual.

“Ang ating mga law enforcement agencies especially drug enforcement agencies siyempre alam naman po nila ang kanilang mandato. So, whatever social status at kung sinoman may nakuhang mga intel reports alam na po ng ating mga law enforcement agencies kung ano ang dapat gawin,” Nograles said.

He added that it is up to the presidential candidates to clear their names and prove that they do not use illegal drugs.

“There’s always been the clamor and it’s really up to the candidates to show that they take the test and that they clear the drug test. So ang nangyayari every election voluntary na lamang yan,” Nograles said. —/mbmf (from the report of UNTV Correspondent Nel Maribojoc)

Duterte inaugurates Sariaya Bypass Road

Robie de Guzman   •   October 22, 2021

President Rodrigo Duterte has inaugurated the 7.42-kilometer long Sariaya Bypass Road in Quezon Province.

In a speech after unveiling the marker on the new road on Thursday, Duterte said the completion of the project affirms the administration’s “strong commitment to improve the quality of life of Filipinos by pursuing strategic infrastructure projects across the country thereby improving connectivity and mobility, creating jobs, and dispersing economic activity throughout the regions.”

“It will likewise spur the growth of industries and business opportunities in the area, thereby boosting the socio-economic development of Quezon Province and improve the lives of the people,” Duterte said.

“As we continue to overcome the current pandemic and carefully reopen our national and local economies, infrastructure development will play a vital role in our success,” he added.

The bypass road is seen to provide faster and safer travel for motorists and will also allow efficient transport of goods to and from the markets in Southern Luzon, the President said.

The road could also lessen the traffic volume along Daang Maharlika from Sariaya to Lucena City by 40 percent.

Stretching from the Manila South Road Daang Maharlika to the Quezon Eco-Tourism Road, the Sariaya Bypass Road is expected to cater to around 15,000 motorists and commuters daily going to the different provinces in the Southern Tagalog Region.

At the same time, it is seen to spur economic and social development through efficient transportation, improved road safety and enhanced business opportunities in Quezon Province.

The Sariaya Bypass Road is one of the flagship projects of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) under the administration’s Build, Build, Build Program.

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