Sunday, December 3, 2023

Business groups want ‘full and fair accounting’ of Covid response funds

A number of business groups and two universities said Filipinos “deserve a full and fair accounting” on the money spent by government for its Covid-19 response, including those disbursed to Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corporation for medical supplies for medical frontliners.

“The allegations, testimonies and documents provided regarding the use of public funds meant to acquire items to minimize the threat to the lives of our citizens … are very sobering,” said the joint statement.

“If true, the context would make the wrongdoing particularly onerous and deserving of the full force of sanctions on its perpetrators that our justice system provides. If untrue, the public may view it as yet another exercise in politically motivated drama but, sadly in this case, would be another blow to the unity and faith we need to fight and recover from the pandemic,” they said.

The groups that signed the joint statement are the Makati Business Club, Management Association of the Philippines, Financial Executives Institute of the Philippines, Bishops-Businessmen’s Conference, Investment Houses Association of the Philippines, Judicial Reform Initiative and Shareholders’ Association of the Philippines, Ateneo de Manila University and the De La Salle University.

“We call on all parties to pursue and cooperate with this investigation to the fullest extent allowed by law,” they said.

The groups issued their statement days after President Rodrigo Duterte ordered Cabinet members not to attend Senate hearings. Pharmally is under probe by the Senate for bagging more than P8 billion in government contracts but only has a paid-in capital of P625,000.

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