SENATE Sergeant-at-Arms chief retired Major General Rene Samonte has recommended the transfer of two Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corporation officials to the Pasay City Jail, Senator Richard Gordon said on Sunday, November 28, 2021.

Gordon said Pharmally Director Linconn Ong and treasurer Mojit Dargani failed to locate the “boxes of documents” subpoenaed by the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, which aims to shed light amid probe on the irregularities in the use of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) funds of the Department of Health (DOH) flagged by the Commission on Audit.

The two officials were detained at the Senate office after they were cited in contempt by the panel for evading questions.

During Thursday’s committee hearing, Gordon approved the motion of Senator Francis Pangilinan that was seconded by Senator Risa Hontiveros to transfer Ong and Dargani to the Pasay City Jail for allegedly lying during the hearing, particularly about the company’s financial statements that cannot be located.

Dargani then requested for the committee to let him try to recover the boxes of documents personally. He noted that the company’s lease agreement had already expired, which may mean that the boxes could no longer be there.

He also asked the committee to let him and Ong talk personally.

Gordon approved Dargani’s request on the condition that they will immediately transfer them to the city jail if they fail to retrieve the documents.

He ordered the Senate Sergeant-at-Arms to assist Dargani.

However, Samonte said they were not able to retrieve the files.

“Hindi nakaalis kasi ayaw magbigay ng info kung saan pupunta, hindi daw nya alam kung nasaan -- office or warehouse or residence. He was told that they can go to all three, pero ayaw pa din. Ang sabi ni Mohit ay alam daw ni Attorney Kapunan, kaya pinatawagan ko,” he said in a text message to Gordon.

(They were not able to go because they did not want to give info on where to go, they said they don't know where -- office or warehouse or residence. He was told that they can go to all three, but they still wouldn't. Mohit said Attorney Kapunan knows, that's why I laughed at it.)

“Muntik na daw mahulog ang lawyer sa upuan, kasi wala daw kaalam alam si Attorney Kapunan kung ano man ang mga documents na yun. It seems wala talagang boxes and boxes of documents, or ayaw ilabas kung meron man. I recommend ituloy na ang transfer order Asap. I will see and talk to them pag may commitment order na to Pasay City Jail,” Samonte added.

(The lawyer almost fell off his chair because apparently, Attorney Kapunan does not know what the documents are. It seems that there are no boxes and boxes of documents or they don't want them to come out if indeed they exist. I recommend that we push through with the transfer order Asap. I will see and talk to them if there is a commitment order to Pasay City Jail.)

In a video message, Gordon said they will proceed with what was agreed upon.

In a hearing on November 4, a tax expert saidPharmally has P3.4 billion worth of unsupported purchases, which was declared in the annual financial statement submitted to the Bureau of Internal Revenue in 2020. This was the year they bagged over a P8.6-billion contract from the Procurement Service of the Department of Budget Management for the delivery of medical supplies to the DOH amid the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Lawmakers believed the supplies were overpriced and some people benefited from it.

Tax expert Mon Abrea said the company’s financial statement will explain the P3.4-billion unsupported purchases of the company.

He said normally when a declared purchase has no supporting documents, they either made it up to decrease the tax a company has to pay or they just falsified it.