Senator Tolentino Steps Down as Chair of Senate Blue Ribbon Committee

Sen. Francis Tolentino. PHOTO BY MIKE ALQUINTO
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SEN. Francis Tolentino has resigned as chairman of the Senate blue ribbon committee to “honor an agreement” to lead the panel for a limited time.

The senator on Tuesday announced that he had reached an agreement with the Senate leadership when he assumed the blue ribbon chairmanship that he would limit his term to one and a half years.

The blue ribbon committee, also known as the Committee on Accountability of Public Officers and Investigations, is responsible for investigating alleged wrongdoings of the government, its officials, and its attached agencies, including government-owned corporations.

“In fulfillment of a sacred commitment to serve as the blue ribbon committee chairman and member of the Commission on Appointments for a concise term of one and a half years, I find it both a duty and an honor to uphold the essence of a prior agreement,” Senator Tolentino stated.

Senator Tolentino emphasized his deep-seated belief that public office demands fidelity to pledges made, and he intends to honor the agreement he made with the Senate leadership.

During his tenure as chairman, the committee focused on several key initiatives. One of these was the proposed amendment to the procurement law through Senate Bill (SB) 2272, which aimed to enhance transparency and disclosure requirements in government supply agreements and contracts.

Another significant measure pursued by Senator Tolentino’s committee was SB 2273, which sought to allow the Office of the Solicitor General’s participation in contract negotiations with foreign governments, corporations, entities, or individuals. This amendment aimed to strengthen the government’s position in negotiating contracts and agreements.

Additionally, the committee worked on abolishing the Procurement Service of the Department of Budget and Management (PS-DBM). This move aimed to streamline government procurement processes and improve efficiency.

Despite his resignation as chairman, Senator Tolentino expressed his willingness to continue serving in any capacity to assist the Senate leadership and the entire administration. He also reminded his would-be successor to uphold the integrity of the blue ribbon committee and ensure that the necessary actions are taken.

As part of the ongoing investigation into alleged overpriced Covid-19 vaccines, Senator Tolentino highlighted two critical measures: SB 2272, which proposes amendments to the Government Procurement Reform Act (RA 9184) to enhance transparency and disclosure requirements in supply agreements and contracts entered into by the Philippine government, and SB 2273, which aims to require the participation of the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) in all contract negotiations with foreign entities, amending Executive Order 292.

Senator Tolentino’s decision to step down as chairman of the Senate blue ribbon committee demonstrates his commitment to fulfilling his obligations and honoring agreements made. His contributions to the committee’s work, particularly in promoting transparency and efficiency in government procurement, will undoubtedly leave a lasting impact.

Source: The Manila Times

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