Senate fails to arrest former PS-DBM head in Cebu, Davao

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 14) — The Senate security team again failed to arrest the former head of the Procurement Service of the Department of Budget and Management (PS-DBM), after he could not be located in his addresses in Visayas and Mindanao.

Former Undersecretary Lloyd Christopher Lao, who was cited in contempt for snubbing the Blue Ribbon Committee hearings on the government’s pandemic response supply deals, could not be found either in his Metro Manila address last week.

The Senate’s Office of the Sergeant-at-Arms (OSAA) attempted to serve a warrant of arrest to Lao in his condominium unit in Zapatera, Cebu City last Friday, Nov. 12. The team discovered that the unit is now being rented by a relative of Lao’s wife.

Meanwhile, another team from the Senate OSAA also failed to find Lao in his “posh” residence in Maa, Davao City on Saturday, Nov. 13. Although they were able to secure a certificate from Filinvest Land Incorporation that the property was registered and owned by the former government official, the house was empty.

Lao skipped the past four hearings of the Senate committee probe. He stopped appearing after President Rodrigo Duterte barred Cabinet members from attending the inquiry.

But committee chairman Richard Gordon pointed out that Lao was not covered by the President's order since he was no longer a government official.

The Senate is investigating PS-DBM's deal with Pharmally Pharmaceutical for the procurement of allegedly overpriced personal protective equipment and COVID-19 testing kits.