La Salle schools call for govt ‘transparency, accountability’ amid Duterte ‘insults, intimidation’

EDUCATIONAL institutions under the De La Salle Philippines expressed concern over the “insults and intimidation” President Rodrigo Duterte has hurled against “members of a co-equal branch who are investigating an allegedly corruption-riddled transaction”.

The De La Salle Philippines, in a statement on Wednesday, referred to the ongoing investigation by Congress into the government’s response to the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic, particularly on the questionable purchase of medical supplies, which stemmed from a 2020 Commission on Audit report.

The De La Salle institutions demanded “transparency and accountability from the Ombudsman and the President, and uphold their sworn duty to preserve and defend the Constitution”.

They also asked Congress to “continue investigating all transactions of the Executive branch amidst the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and exercise their oversight function in conducting these inquiries.

“We underscore the pursuit of truth, which demands transparency and accountability in public service. We believe that our right to information should be respected, protected, and generally remain unbridled. An informed public leads to an engaged citizenry,” they said.

The De La Salle schools also urged the youth to take part in “upholding the truth, seeking social justice, and demanding respect for democratic rights”.

The statement was signed by Brother Visitor Br. Armin Luistro, former Education secretary and Lasallian East Asia District (LEAD); De La Salle Philippines President Edgar Chua, De La Salle University; Bro. Bernard Oca, De La Salle Araneta University, De La Salle Santiago Zobel School, and St. Jaime Hilario School-De La Salle Bataan president; Bro. Dante Jose Amisola, De La Salle Lipa president ; Bro. Edmundo Fernandez, De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde and La Salle Green Hills president; Jimelo Tipay, La Salle College Antipolo president; Bro. Augustine Boquer De La Salle University – DasmariƱas and De La Salle Medical and Health Sciences Institute president; Bro. Joaquin Severino Martinez, University of St. La Salle and St. Joseph School – La Salle president; Ma. Donitha Hernando, De La Salle Andres Soriano Memorial College OIC president; Bro. Jose Mari Jimenez, La Salle University president; Jay Velez, La Salle Academy Iligan OIC president; and Aristarco Ugmad, De La Salle John Bosco College president.

Duterte, in particular, has slammed the Senate blue ribbon committee and its chairman, Sen. Richard “Dick” Gordon, for its ongoing investigation into the P42 billion transaction of Covid-19 medical supplies by the Department of Health (DoH), based on a CoA report that cited “deficiencies” in the transaction.

The President even ordered his Cabinet secretaries not to appear in these inquiries without his permission.

He also directed CoA to audit the Philippine Red Cross (PRC), a non-government organization which Gordon heads, because of its alleged transactions with the government.

While Gordon remained firm against the audit, he offered to explain the donations that some government agencies have given PRC.

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