Gordon Seeks Details on Pacquiao's Corruption Claims Before Opening Probe

'I need the specific facts,' the senator says.
Photo/s: Dick Gordon/Facebook

Sen. Richard Gordon on Wednesday said he needed to see the specifics of Sen. Manny Pacquiao's corruption allegations against several government agencies before the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, which he chairs, could open an investigation.

Gordon said that while investigation of corruption cases must proceed, his committee couldn't do so by relying only on newspaper accounts. He has also yet to receive any request, document or resolution related to Pacquiao's corruption allegations.

"The current allegations hurled by Sen. Pacquiao against several executive departments, like any other allegation made by any other colleague, must be taken seriously. But before we can even think of proceeding, the Blue Ribbon must know what it will be specifically investigating," he said.

"While the Committee may call for a hearing motu proprio, I need to see the specific facts surrounding the alleged offenses committed," he added.

The Senate Blue Ribbon Committee is tasked to tackle and investigate alleged wrongdoings of officials and employees of the government on its own or when brought to its attention by a member of the Senate.

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Pacquiao over the weekend alleged corruption in the distribution of COVID-19 cash aid or ayuda via mobile wallets after President Rodrigo Duterte dared him to prove corrupt activities in the government.

He claimed that some P10.4 billion in funds supposedly allocated for the social amelioration program were missing, noting that 1.3 million recipients were not able to get aid via mobile wallet Starpay contrary to what government records show.

The senator also earlier challenged the Department of Health to disclose how it spent the funds it received to help address the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gordon said he instructed staff from the Blue Ribbon committee as well as from his own office to get in touch with authorities to determine whether there is "smoke and fire" behind Pacquiao's allegations.

"If there is basis, I will not hesitate to act and do what is right," he said.

The Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission said it was investigating Pacquiao's claims even before he exposed them.

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The Department of Social Welfare and Development denied the senator's accusations, while the DOH said it was ready to participate in any investigation on alleged corruption.

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