SENATOR Franklin Drilon bared on Thursday, October 28, the irregularities in the income tax returns (ITR) of several personalities involved in the investigation on the alleged anomalous purchase of medical supplies at the onset of the coronavirus diseas (Covid-19) pandemic in the country.
During the resumption of Senate investigation on the alleged misuse of Covid-19 pandemic funds of the Department of Health (DOH) as flagged by the Commission on Audit (COA), Drilon said based on the records they obtained from the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), the ITRs of the officials of the embattled Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corporation were either unfiled, unreadable or incomplete.
Drilon said the BIR has no record of Pharmally corporate secretary and treasurer Mohit Dargani’s ITR in 2018, while his ITRs from 2019 and 2020 state that he paid P22,062 and P97,241, respectively, in those years.
Dargani’s sister, Twinkle, the firm’s listed president, paid P29,187 ITR in 2018 and P1,000 in 2020. The BIR has no information on her ITR for 2019.
Drilon noted that the taxable income of the Darganis in their ITRs in the said years were “unreadable” according to the BIR.
"The ITRs of the Darganis are incomplete and have several unreadable portions, but the taxable incomes and taxes paid appear to be very low, especially considering that they were able to buy luxury cars during relevant periods," he said.
Mohit purchased a Porsche 911 Turbo S worth P8.5 million in May 2021, while he gave his sister, Twinkle, a Lamborghini Urus worth P13 million in December 2020.
Pharmally owner Huang Tzu Yen has no records available for the taxable year 2019 up to present as per the BIR.
Huang registered to the BIR on September 24, 2019.
The ITRs of Pharmally director Linconn Ong were also all unreadable.
It was revealed in the previous hearing that Ong was able to buy a Porsche Carera 4s worth P13.5 million in February 2021 and a Porsche Cayene VR6 worth around P6.35 million to P8.5 million in May 2021.
Ong also owns a Lexus RCF worth P5.9 million in 2019.
The Pharmally itself claimed a tax credit of P96,089,293 in 2020. There is a tax due of P589.163.
Drilon said Pharmally did not pay any tax.
Drilon also revealed that Michael Yang, the former presidential adviser who was tagged as the “backer of Pharmally to secure billions worth of contracts from the government,” did not file his ITR from 2014 to 2017.
In 2018, Yang paid taxes worth P7,600, for his taxable income of P208,000.
For 2019 and 2020, the ITR records of Yang, which were provided by the BIR, were also not readable.
When asked, Yang said he is not immediately aware of his tax records and will have to confide with his accountant.
Drilon also flagged the under-declared taxable income of TigerPhil Marketing where Pharmally bought the face masks, which they supplied to the government.
The said firm paid P2,234 for their taxable income of P7,447 in 2017 while they paid P91,774 worth of taxes in 2018 for taxable income of P305,913.
TigerPhil declared a taxable income of P235,172 and P129,742, respectively, in 2019 and 2020 and paid P70,552 and 38,923 worth of taxes, respectively.
For the year 2020, the company amended its taxable income to P3,263,671 and paid tax amounting to P1.138,680.05.
The tax amendment came amid the conduct of the Senate investigation where TigerPhil was among the firms that were grilled over shady transactions.
“Noong sinita nitong kumite na ito ang kanilang income when they were subjected to question from the committee, suddenly they amended their ITR,” Drilon said.
Greentrends Trading International Inc., TigerPhil’s supplier of face masks, failed to file an ITR from 2015 to 2021, based on the record of the BIR.
Xuzhou Construction Machinery Group, the alleged second biggest medical supply supplier amid the Covid-19 pandemic, has no BIR records available from 2017 up to present.
Drilon said former Procurement Service (PS) Department of Budget Management (DBM) officer-in-charge Lloyd Christopher Lao also did not file his ITR for 2020, the time he was still with the agency, while he declared zero taxable income in 2017 and had filed ITR through electronic BIR forms online facility for years 2018 and 2019, which could not be viewed by the BIR.
“President (Rodrigo) Duterte is always telling the public that hirap na hirap ang pamahalaan, wala pong pambayad kaya ang ayuda hindi nabibigay, yung pambili ng bakuna P45 billion ay nasa unprogrammed funds, ibig sabihin walang pondo sa P45 billion para sa pambili ng bakuna,” Drilon said.
“Di po ba tama lamang na tingnan natin sa magandang na mga kontrata na nakuha ng mga suppliers? P42 billion, magkano bang binayad nilang income tax?” he added.
The Senate blue ribbon committee chaired by Senator Richard Gordon approved Drilon’s motion, urging the BIR to create a task force for a special audit on the returns made by the suppliers of pandemic supplies.
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. Lawmakers tagged it 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. (SunStar Philippines)