Docs’ group PMA staying out of Pharmally issue

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    THE Philippine Medical Association, the largest organization of physicians in the country, said it is not issuing any stand on the alleged corruption that marred government spending of funds allocated for the country’s COVID-19 response.

    But it will not prohibit its members from expressing their personal views on current issues.

    “The PMA national officers and board of governors exercise extreme prudence before issuing any statement, especially if such may prove divisive and detrimental to the organization in general,” said the PMA.

    “The PMA chooses to rise above partisan politics. The PMA cannot, and will not support as yet unproven accusations,” it added.

    Last Monday, hundreds of physicians, including four former heads of the Department of Health, condemned the alleged anomalies in the procurement of billions worth of COVID-19 supplies by the Duterte administration.

    The signatories in the “collective expression of indignation” even asked President Duterte to stop obstructing a Senate investigation by preventing his Cabinet officials from appearing in hearings.

    The PMA, which has some 800,000 members, asked colleagues to be discerning and to engage in the process of nation-building.

    “This is not to promote passivity, but rather an appeal to physicians to participate in arriving at solutions rather than add to the country’s problems,” it said.

    “Its members are reminded to be upright, diligent, sober, modest and imbued with professionalism, to work with harmony and mutual respect at all times,” added PMA.

    Meanwhile, Senate President Vicente Sotto III and minority leader Franklin Drilon expressed confidence the Supreme Court will uphold the Senate’s decision to detain an official of Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corporation which is at the center of the alleged anomalous purchase of pandemic supplies.

    The Senate Blue Ribbon committee which is looking into the alleged anomalies detained Pharmally director Linconn Ong for refusing to answer or giving evasive answers during hearings.

    The Supreme Court has asked the Senate to answer Ong’s petition asking that he be released by the Senate. Ong has been under Senate custody since September 21.

    Sotto said: “There are a number of decisions and jurisprudence established from the SC favoring the Senate on that aspect.”

    Drilon said the 1950 jurisprudence in the case of Arnault versus Nazareno sided with the Senate in instances like these.

    “I am confident that on the basis of decided cases since Arnault v Nazareno in 1950, the Senate is legally correct in detaining Ong until he answers our questions,” Drilon said. – With Raymond Africa