Rhodina Villanueva – The Philippine Star
March 24, 2023|12:00 am
MANILA, Philippines– The Department of Health (DOH) stated its 9 authorities apparently associated with the doubtful procurement of COVID-19 pandemic materials from Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp. will not be reporting for work beginning Monday.
Previously, the Office of the Ombudsman suspended 32 previous and present authorities of the Procurement Service of the Department of Budget and Management (PS-DBM) and the DOH for their declared participation in the pandemic materials mess.
The health authorities covered by the suspension were Nestor Santiago Jr., Assistant Secretary, Public Services Team; Crispinita Valdez, Director IV, Procurement Service; Amado Tandoc, head, Laboratory Research Division, Research Institute for Tropical Medicine; Lei Lanna Dancel, Dave Tangcalagan, Jhobert Bernal, Kenneth Aristotle Punzalan, Rose Marasigan, and Maria Carmela Reyes, Supply Chain Management Service, all of DOH-RITM.
All are holding irreversible position in the department other than for Valdez who is retired, and Reyes who is under a task order plan.
It still revealed assistance to these authorities, the DOH, in a declaration, stated they are devoted to comply with the instructions of the Ombudsman.
“We will simply be following the order of the Ombudsman. By Monday, they will not be going to work any longer,” stated the DOH. “Rest guaranteed that the DOH will comply in the examination and will continually promote all due procedures as mandated by the Office of the Ombudsman and the federal government of the Philippines.”
The DOH likewise stated that in spite of the suspension order by the Ombudsman, it continues to trust the stability of the authorities and staff members of the department.
“These authorities have actually been with the company for years, and we continue to acknowledge their service, sacrifice, and dedication to the Filipino individuals,” stated the DOH. “The DOH attests the stability of these authorities, who have actually played considerable functions in the nation’s COVID-19 reaction.”
The DOH safeguarded the authorities, stating they are not associated with the real procurement procedure of COVID-19 pandemic materials. The company similarly stated “the preventive suspension needs to not be viewed as conviction, however rather a legal treatment done to prevent impact of the people in concern.”
“We ask the general public to reserve judgment and keep an open mind up until the examination has actually been dealt with,” the DOH stated.
This followed Pharmally bagged more than P11.5 billion worth of federal government healthcare supply agreements from 2020 to 2021 throughout the height of the coronavirus pandemic.
Amongst those suspended was Overall Deputy Ombudsman Warren Rex Liong, who has actually begun serving the six-month preventive suspension.
Liong, nevertheless, stated that while he will comply with the suspension order, he had no participation in the supposed abnormalities though it allegedly took place throughout his stint as PS-DBM procurement group director.
“I completely appreciate the Office of the Ombudsman as an organization, including its personnel and authorities. This is a hard time for me and for us in the Ombudsman. It is my duty to speak the reality and clear my name,” Liong stated in a declaration composed in Filipino launched to press reporters by his legal representative, Rafael Vicente Calinisan.
In a text to The STAR, Ombudsman Samuel Martires validated that Liong got a copy of the order on Wednesday and began serving his suspension the other day.
Martires stated the ombudsman is now carrying out a different initial examination on a criminal grievance, still in connection with the procurement mess apparently including the previous and incumbent authorities of the PS-DBM, DOH and Pharmally.
Check out the mastermind
Sen. Risa Hontiveros is likewise hoping that the anti-graft body will check out the masterminds behind the method, as she hailed the suspension order as a “sweet preliminary success” for Filipino individuals.
“It actually seems like an extremely sweet preliminary success. (This is) vindication to the different stakeholders here in our health sector and I’m just so pleased and extremely grateful once again that the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee became part of this,” stated Hontiveros, describing the committee’s examination in the Pharmally mess.
“My hope is that the examination will likewise check out the masterminds behind this method, well beyond the infantryman and mid-level authorities,” stated Hontiveros in an interview through Zoom the other day. “Although the Ombudsman order just covers the COVID-19 test sets, we eagerly anticipate an examination of the PPEs and other expensive procurements.” — with Elizabeth Marcelo, Cecille Suerte Felipe