Senate panel cites ex-DBM Usec. Lao in contempt for skipping COVID-19 response fund hearings

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 4) — The Senate Blue Ribbon Committee has cited resigned Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Usec. Lloyd Christopher Lao in contempt for not attending hearings on alleged anomalies surrounding the government’s COVID-19 response funds.

“He’s still needed here because he’s got a lot of explaining as well,” said Senate Blue Ribbon Committee chairman Richard Gordon upon issuing the order against the former chief of the DBM’s Procurement Service.

Now a private citizen, Lao isn’t covered by President Rodrigo Duterte’s order barring executive officials from participating in the panel’s inquiry into the management of the said funds.

Lao is among the individuals involved in the said probe, which looks into issues such as the purchase of allegedly overpriced medical supplies and equipment during the pandemic’s onset.

The embattled former DBM official is among individuals Gordon wants charged in light of the controversy.

RELATED: Lacson: Ex-DBM official liable for graft over Pharmally deals

The committee first subpoenaed Lao in late August to compel him to attend the probe. During past hearings, senators called him out multiple times for his supposedly arrogant and disrespectful conduct.

Thursday marks the 14th hearing of the Senate Blue RIbbon committee on the issue.