Bishop Broderick Pabillo (File photo)

Bishop Broderick Pabillo of the Apostolic Vicariate of Taytay denied being the source of the circulating statement criticizing the alleged corruption surrounding the government’s purchase of face masks and face shields but expressed support for its content.

Pabillo said Monday that he had seen the content of the statement circulating on social media a few days ago but was surprised to see that parts of it had been ascribed to his name.

“Totoo naman na sa panahon ng pandemic, sa halip na tulungan ang mga tao ay maraming pera ang ginagamit para yumaman ang iba. Iyong mga face mask na ‘yan, face shield na ‘yan na overpriced at the billions. Totoo naman ang mga data na nakalagay doon, kaya kahit hindi galing sa akin ‘yon ay sumasang-ayon ako sa nilalaman,” he said.

The spreading statement underlined that the Duterte administration, including “loyalist” Sen. Christopher “Bong” Go and his underlings, as well as their Chinese accomplices, had allegedly taken advantage of the health crisis to steal billions of people’s money.

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It said the face masks and face shields purchased at exorbitant prices from “Chinese contacts” are a symbol of the Duterte administration’s corruption, whose funds were authorized via Bayanihan 1 and 2.

It highlighted impoverished Filipinos’ difficulty to get government assistance via “ayuda” while under community quarantines. It also slammed the Duterte government for granting over P8 billion in contract to Pharmally Pharmaceutical, Inc., a company with a “small capital of P625,000 and a false address.”

Reports said Pharmally is linked to Duterte’s former economic adviser, Michael Yang, which was also summoned by the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee to come forward.

Pabillo said he has no clue who placed his name on it, but he shares the same sentiment on the issue of overpricing, despite the fact that many Filipinos are in desperate need due to the pandemic.

“Few days ago, may tumawag nang pansin sa akin. Even before that, lumabas na ‘yang quote na iyan na wala naman pangalan ko then I shared with others dahil sang ayon ako sa kaniyang content. Tapos may mga nag-viber, nag-text sa akin kung ito raw nga ba ay galing sa akin. Sabi ko bakit naman, kasi sa bandang huli ay nakalagay na ‘yong pangalan ko roon na hindi ko naman sinulat ‘yon,” he said.

“Ang nangyayari ngayon, ang overpricing na nakakagalit dahil ang mga tao ay kailangan na kailangan ng medical (equipment)— at ang (pondo) ay talagang winaldas sa mga bagay na hindi naman importante,” he added.

The statement also alleged that while many Filipinos are dying and getting sick, Duterte and his cohorts are trying all means to stay in power beyond 2022 with “a huge amount of money to be able to buy the votes of the poor and suffering Filipinos.”

Despite the possibility of being rebuked by Duterte supporters, Pabillo thinks that Filipinos should not be ruled by fear.

“Kung matatakot tayo, wala tayong magagawa. Hindi dapat takot ang magpapakilos sa atin kasi kahit hindi naman galing sa akin ‘yan pero sumasang-ayon ako sa kaniyang nilalaman. Hindi naman mahalaga kung kanino galing, mahalaga ang kaniyang sinasabi,”

“Ang apila ko ay huwag tayong manahinik. Dapat isigaw natin, ‘wag tayong magpabaya. Dahil itong mga nagsasamantala ay nakikinabang sa ating pagbabaya. Kung tayo ay maingat, tayo ay nagbabantay, at mga ganitong mga bagay ay ating pinapansin at pinapalakas ang boses, mag-iisip-isip ‘yong magsasamantala,” he added.

In his homily on Sunday, Pabillo also emphasized that, in addition to appealing for solidarity in the fight against the virus, health workers must be compensated for their efforts with competitive salaries.

“Kasi hindi naman sila nabibigyan ng sapat na sahod—hindi sila nabibigyan ng nararapat na tulong,” he said.

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is one of the senior reporters of Palawan News. She covers agriculture, business, and different feature stories. Her interests are collecting empty bottles, aesthetic earrings, and anything that is color yellow.