Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque on Wednesday said he has “no regrets” over the deals entered into by the Philippine government with Pharmally Pharmaceuticals even though such deals are marred with irregularities.

Duque said in an interview with ANC that he trusted the procurement service of the Department of Budget and Management, but  “not personalities.”

“It’s an institutional trust more than a personal trust. I haven’t done anything wrong so there’s nothing to regret. Because of this we were able to protect [the] lives of our healthcare workers because they are a major pillar of the pandemic response,” he said. 

“The fact we had manageable [number of] healthcare workers who got [infected] with Covid is a testament that the protection of these supplies given was realized. No regrets. Marami naman tayong na-save na buhay ng healthcare workers natin.”

Due to alleged plunder of public funds meant to address the pandemic, the Senate Blue Ribbon committee has decided to recommend charges against Duque, former government and Pharmally officials. 

Pharmally won around P11 billion in government contracts from 2020 to 2021 for the supply of face masks and Covid-19 test kits for the government. However, senators said that it was only incorporated in 2019 and only had a capital of about P625,000.

The senate committee described the deal as “premeditated” and that former Budget Undersecretary Lloyd Christopher Lao served as the “concertmaster.” 

The investigating panel discovered that Lao handled some P42 billion in funds that the Department of Health (DOH) transferred to the PS-DBM without proper documentation. 

Despite the controversy, Duque expressed his gratitude towards President Rodrigo Duterte and the Inter-Agency Task Force Against Covid-19. 

“I’ve never been personalistic about my performance…It’s really a team effort, it’s DOH, it’s IATF and above all it’s the President who orchestrated all of this. His belief, his trust in us was…unwavering,” he said.

“I think the numbers speak for themselves. Let people gauge us. Sure I could’ve done better, the whole world was brought down to its knees. In terms of our scarce resources I think we did fairly well.” Ronald Espartinez