The Senate orders the arrest of a former DBM executive

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For failing to attend Senate hearings four times over multibillion-peso COVID funds used to purchase medical supplies, the Upper House on Friday issued an arrest warrant for former Under-Budget Secretary Christopher Lloyd Lao. Lao was then the officer in charge of the purchasing department of DBM (PS-DBM) when the government purchased allegedly overpriced PPE, face shields and face masks in 2020. The one-page order signed by the President of the Senate Vicente Sotto III and Senator Richard Gordon, Chairman of the Commission on Public Officials Liability and Investigations (Blue Ribbon) ordered the arrest of Lao for his refusal to attend the hearings of 5, 19, 28 and November 4, 2021. Senator Francis Pangilinan asked the Blue Ribbon committee to cite Lao for contempt and to be arrested. This was seconded by Senator Risa Hontiveros. The order also tasked the Senate Sergeant-at-Arms with making the arrest.

Gordon noted that since Lao was no longer a government official, he was not covered by President Rodrigo Duterte’s executive order that prohibited Cabinet officials and employees from attending Senate hearings. order against Lao even though he was not in Metro Manila. “If we get it (stop order), we will just prepare the paperwork, and even if it is out of town, we will serve and execute the stop order,” Samonte said. In previous Senate panel hearings, Lao said he returned to Davao City after stepping down from his post at DBM. The Senate is investigating the transfer of 42 billion pesos of COVID-19 funds from the Ministry of Health to PS-DBM during the Laos era.

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