Senate President Vicente Sotto III said that the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee hearings on the government’s alleged misuse of funds intended for the fight against COVID-19 cannot be stopped.
In fact, the Blue Ribbon Committee chaired by Senator Richard Gordon is expected to come out with its report in October or September, Sotto said at a press conference with Senator Panfilo Lacson at The Ruins in Talisay City on Thursday, September 16.
“Any investigation as long as the truth comes out will not harm the nation,” he said, in reaction to President Rodrigo Duterte’s lambasting the Senate probe.
“I don’t see why we should stop the investigation in the Senate when we know very well that we cannot see how the money is being spent,” Sotto said.
The legislative has the power of the purse, which is very clear in the Constitution, he added.
So how the people’s money is spent needs the Senate’s intervention, Sotto said.
“In the middle of a pandemic some people still have the guts to earn so much money…our priority should be to attend to our people’s needs,” Lacson said.
“That is the sorry state of our country today,” Lacson said.
Duterte has barred Cabinet officials from attending the Blue Ribbon Committee hearings without his approval.
Duterte has also instructed Solicitor General Jose Calida to audit the finances of the Philippine Red Cross (PRC), which is headed by Gordon.
Lacson said COA cannot audit PRC because it is not a government entity, it is a privately managed humanitarian group.*