“Alam mo, sa totoo lang Gordon pati Drilon, hindi ako aabot sa presidency, from my mayorship to presidency, kung korap ako kagaya ninyo, kung tumatanggap ako ng mga campaign funds diyan sa mga tao na alam ninyo na gumagawa ng kalokohan kasama yung mga miyembro ng Congess.” ~PRRD
Malacañang on Friday scoffed at Senator Risa Hontiveros for basing her claim about President Rodrigo Duterte’s ties with a coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) medical supplier on mere photographs.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said photos could not be used as proof of Duterte’s supposed links to Wang Min, chairperson of Xuzhou Construction Machinery Group (XCMG), which is one of the Philippine government’s Covid-19 medical suppliers.
“Let’s just say under the laws or rules of evidence, ‘yung picture pong iyan ay ebidensiya lamang (that picture is just an evidence) of the existence of the picture. It cannot prove relationship,” Roque said in a virtual presser.
On Thursday, Hontiveros released photos from a Chinese website that showed that Duterte met with Wang at Malacañan Palace in Manila in 2017.
Roque slammed Hontiveros for being “imaginative,” and said it was only normal for a Philippine official, most especially for Duterte, to have photos with foreign investors like Wang.
He added that the photos were taken in 2017, or four years before the country was hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Lahat po ng public officers, lahat ng public figures, hindi po nila nako-control talaga kung sinong makikipag-picture sa kanila. At dahil usung-uso po ngayon ang picture-picture lalung-lalo na madaming cellphone, wala naman pong dapat i-conclude kung meron lang larawan,” Roque said.
XCMG, along with Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp. and other Covid-19 medical suppliers of the country, allegedly failed to pay taxes, Senate Minority Franklin Drilon revealed during the resumption of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee’s investigation on Thursday.
Senator Richard Gordon, chairperson of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, told the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) “to stand up, to come out and speak up, and correct the menace of corruption in our country.”
Sought for reaction, Roque said the government would not tolerate firms with tax liabilities.
“Aba’y kung talagang hindi sila nagbayad ng buwis, kinakailangang habulin,” Roque said. “Huwag po kayong mag-alala, hindi po natutulog sa pansitan ang BIR. Kung talagang wala pong taxes, hahabulin po natin iyan. That is guaranteed.” (PNA)