Disclosure of names of congressmen who allegedly received kickbacks from gov't projects, not diversionary tactic - Palace
President Rodrigo Duterte's disclosure of the names of some congressmen who allegedly received kickbacks from government public works projects was not a diversionary tactic amid controversy over COVID-19 vaccination of some soldiers, Malacanang said on Tuesday.
Some members of the Presidential Security Group have received the Chinese Sinopharm vaccine even without the approval of the Food and Drug Administration.
"He's the one engaged in diversionary tactic," Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said referring to former Ifugao Rep. Teodoro Baguilat Jr., one of the nine lawmakers who allegedly received kickbacks from contractors when he was still a congressman.
Baguilat, a member of the opposition Liberal Party, denied receiving kickbacks, saying that Duterte's acts were diversionary tactics because of the "smuggled unregistered Siphopharm vaccines and made our soldiers guinea pigs."
Roque advised Baguilat to just answer the allegation.
Other congressmen whom Duterte named for allegedly receiving kickbacks also denied the allegations.
In his televised message on Monday night, Duterte read the report of the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission regarding the names of lawmakers who were allegedly involved in anomalous transactions in their districts.
He said Baguilat reportedly received kickbacks from contractors for construction projects in Ifugao in connivance with the former district engineer of the Department of Public Works and Highways.
Duterte said Occidental Rep. Josephine Ramirez-Sato, who was also in the list, was allegedly involved in ghost projects in her district with the district engineer as her alleged bagman.
Quezon City Rep. Alfredo Paolo Vargas allegedly demanded for one-time enrollment fee amounting to P1 million in addition to the 10 and 12 percent "SOP" before the project could be awarded to the contractor, he said.
Misamis Occidental Rep. Henry Oaminal allegedly owns a construction company and has several construction projects in his province, he said.
Duterte said Isabela Rep. Alyssa Sheena P. Tan allegedly owns a construction company that has several construction projects in her province.
Northern Samar Rep. Paul Daza allegedly determined all the winning bidders in his legislative district and received "20 and 25 percent kickbacks from contractors," he said.
Quezon Rep. Angelina "Helen" Tan was allegedly involved in the construction of anomalous national road project in the province that had not been open for public use, he said.
ACT-CIS party-list Rep Eric Yap allegedly rigged the bidding through his agent, while Bataan Rep. Geraldine Roman allegedly asked for 10 percent kickback for all DPWH projects in her district, Duterte said.
Roque said Duterte finally revealed the names of the lawmakers after he initially refused to make them public for the sake of the "right of the people to information."
He said it would be up to the Office of the Ombudsman to investigate the allegations against the nine lawmakers. Celerina Monte/DMS