Saturday, November 27, 2021

Editorial: Waiting for real good news

Editorial art by Enrico Santisas

THIS sounds like good news to the administration critics: Senator Richard Gordon on Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2021, revealed that the blue ribbon committee will recommend the filing of charges against several personalities involved in the alleged misuse of Covid-19 pandemic funds.

Included in the powerful committee’s partial report are officials of Pharmally Pharmaceuticals Corp. and former officials of the Procurement Service (PS) of the Department of Budget and Management.

Despite only having a P625,000 start-up capital, Pharmally bagged at least an P8.6 billion contract from the PS for the procurement of face masks, personal protective equipment and Covid-19 test kits on behalf of the Department of Health (DOH). This transaction 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.”

Mentioned in the partial report 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. The company’s accountant, Jeff Mariano, was also not off the hook.

Gordon said they will be charged with criminal complaints, including falsification of public documents and violation of the Bayanihan to Heal as One Law.

Huang Tzu Yen, owner of Pharmally, disclosed that Yang funded some of their transactions in order for them to fulfill their contract with the government. Yang’s links with Pharmally were seen by lawmakers as the main reason the company was favored and prioritized in terms of awarding of contracts, SunStar Philippines reported.

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.

Malacañang, through Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr., dismissed the blue ribbon committee’s investigation, saying it was politically motivated and overpricing on the procured medical supplies was not proven. It is natural for the presidential loudmouth to defend his boss and cast doubt on the investigation led by a senator, who once upon a time revered President Rodrigo Duterte.

Roque cannot fool the discerning public, though. Yang’s connection with Pharmally and his link to the President is proof that something fishy had happened.

The statement of Gordon about the blue ribbon committee’s partially finished recommendation is not entirely good news. It becomes real good news if the personalities are already charged and tried. If there will be a trial, the public must not forget about it even if it takes years to reach a resolution.

Corruption in the government is bad grass that must be weeded out. It grows again if the people forget to seek justice.


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