Pharmally mess won’t lead to Duterte – Palace

Helen Flores - The Philippine Star
Pharmally mess wonât lead to Duterte â Palace
This October 2020 photo shows President Rodrigo Duterte speaking during his weekly public address.
Presidential Photo / King Rodriguez

MANILA, Philippines — The Senate inquiry has yet to prove claims of overpricing in the purchase of COVID-19 supplies last year from Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp. and Malacañang is confident that the probe won’t lead to President Duterte.

“The first issue they threw at Pharmally was overpricing. Did they find overpriced face shields, PPE (personal protective equipment)? None,” presidential spokesman Harry Roque said. “With regard to face masks, were these overpriced? No also. As far as overpricing is concerned, nothing has been proven.”

“Absolutely not. They don’t have any evidence of overpricing. The COA (Commission on Audit) has already said that there is nothing overpriced, so what can be linked to the President? Just noise,” he said.

Roque said they are leaving it up to the justice department to decide if it would investigate the allegations of face shield tampering, but asserted that the statement of “one person” would not stand in court.

“As much as possible, we should give physical evidence to the court because testimony is cheap, (a witness) can be paid or can be threatened, so we will look for substantiated evidence, not just the testimony of someone,” Roque said.

During a hearing of the Senate Blue Ribbon committee last Friday, Pharmally official Krizle Grace Mago admitted replacing the labels of old and substandard face shields upon the instruction of Mohit Dargani, one of the company owners.

Pharmally, linked to Duterte’s former economic adviser Michael Yang, was awarded by the government pandemic supply contracts amounting to P8.68 billion last year.

Nothing wrong

The House committee on good government and public accountability yesterday said it saw nothing wrong with the government’s procurement of two million face shields from Pharmally despite revelations of tampering of expiration date by its Senate counterpart.

DIWA party-list Rep. Mike Aglipay asked DOH Undersecretary Carolina Taiño if any health worker got sick or died, to which Taiño replied in Filipino: “No one, as far as we know” and that the face shields were “great help to health workers.”

DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III said none of the health workers complained about the face shields delivered to them.

Smoking gun

For Sen. Leila de Lima, the Senate is already beyond the smoking gun in the Pharmally hearings and that the Procurement Service-Department of Budget and Management (PS-DBM) and Pharmally conspired to plunder more than P10 billion of the people’s money.

“There is no longer escaping the inevitable conclusion that PS-DBM and Pharmally conspired to plunder more than P10 billion of the people’s money by keeping on paying billions to undercapitalized Pharmally and letting them deliver even without purchase orders and awarded contracts,” de Lima noted.

“The Blue Ribbon committee led by Sen. Richard Gordon already has way more than a smoking gun to pin the culprits down to the very bowels of the earth,” she added. – Cecille Suerte Felipe, Edu Punay

Related video:

  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

or sign in with