THE Senate blue ribbon committee will recommend the filing of charges against Pharmally Pharmaceuticals Corporation and former officials of Procurement Service (PS) of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) over the alleged misuse of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic funds, an official said.
Senator Richard Gordon said during the resumption of the Senate committee probe Teusday, October 19, that they have already finished the partial report of their investigation on the irregularities in the use of Covid-19 funds by the Department of Health (DOH) and the filing of charges against several personalities was included.
Among the personalities mentioned were former presidential adviser on economic affairs Michael Yang, former PS head Christopher Lloyd Lao, former PS official now overall deputy Ombudsman Warren Liong and Pharmally officials Linconn Ong, Mohit and Twinkle Dargani and Krizle Grace Mago.
Gordon said the company’s accountant was also not off the hook.
"Si Michael Yang, si Christopher Lloyd Lao, ang Pharmally Pharmaceutical directors and officers na kasama sina Michael Yang, ang Pharmally Pharmaceutical na si Krizle Grace Mago, Mohit Dargani, Twinkle Dargani, 'yung mga fraud na pineperpetrate na sina Lloyd Lao, sila ni Warren Liong, 'yan po ang preliminaries na nakikita natin or partial report," Gordon said.
"'Yung perjury, false testimony na ginawa ni Michael Yang, Linconn Ong, Grace Mago, 'yung falsification of public documents under Article 171 of the Revised Penal Code na ginawa nila Warren Liong at tinulak si Mendoza at Tanquintic na sabihin na dumating ang produkto, samantalang walang dumadating, hindi pa nila nakita kung ano 'yung mga produkto na 'yan," he added.
Gordon said the charges also include violation of the Bayanihan to Heal as One Law.
Ong is currently under the custody of the Senate due to his evasive answers during the probe, while Mago is under the protective custody of the House of Representatives.
During Tuesday’s hearing, Gordon cited in contempt the Dargani siblings for refusing to provide the documents pertaining to the financial flow of the company being asked by the panel.
Gordon reiterated the glaring “unwarranted benefits and advantage” bestowed by PS to Pharmally, which was tagged as the country’s biggest supplier of medical needs amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
Despite only having a P625,000 start-up capital, Pharmally bagged at least P8.6 billion contract from the PS for the procurement of face mask, personal protective equipment and Covid-19 test kits on behalf of the (DOH) and this was tagged by lawmakers as overpriced.
The DOH transferred P42 billion of its Covid-19 pandemic funds to the PS for the procurement of the supplies identified as “common supplies.”
It was revealed by Huang Tzu Yen, the owner of Pharmally, that Yang funded some of their transactions in order for them to fulfill their contract with the government.
Yang’s links with Pharmally was seen by lawmakers as the main reason why the company was favored and prioritized in terms of awarding of contracts.
"Nadiskurbe po nating inuna ang kumita at makakuha ng komisyon o kickbacks, instead of coming up with the right way to quell the pandemic," Gordon said.
He said they will release to the public the report on their investigation once it is completed.
Meanwhile, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said during a press briefing on Tuesday, October 19, that the ongoing investigation, which implicates the administration, was politically motivated, noting that it was not proven that there was an overpricing on the procured medical supplies.
"Kuwentong kutchero po 'yan sa panahon ng pulitika. Walang ganyang ebidensya. There is no conspiracy," he said.
"In fact, the probe has proved that the President has nothing to do with purchasing of personal protective equipment," Roque added. (SunStar Philippines)
October 19, 2021
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