Gordon hopes House custody of Pharmally's Mago won't hamper Senate hearings

Gordon hopes House custody of Pharmally's Mago won't hamper Senate hearings
Pharmally executive Krizle Grace Mago attends a Senate blue ribbon committee on Sept. 24, 2021.
Screen grab / Senate of the Philippines YouTube page

MANILA, Philippines — The chair of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee on Sunday said he was worried about the safety of Krizel Mago, the Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp.  regulatory head who has been testifying at the panel's hearings and said he hoped that her protection at the House wouldn't affect the investigation. 

Mago was the Pharmally exec who agreed when prompted that the company was "swindling" the government by ordering the tampering of face shield expiration dates. 

Speaking over Super Radyo DZBB, Sen. Richard Gordon said he is worried that the House having custody of Mago's might hamper the Senate's investigation into government pandemic spending. 

"It would be good if she appears (at the Senate hearing) because we saw from the checks that she was the one who claimed them from [Department of Budget and Management]," he said in Filipino. "She may also have been the one who desposited them."

He said the panel had been worried about Mago, whom the panel couldn't contact or find in recent days. "[W]hat we are saying is we should know where she is; we don’t know if she was abducted or threatened or if she is safe."

Rep. Mike Aglipay (DIWA party-list), chair of the House good government and public accountability panel, announced Friday that Mago was already in House custody. The Aglipay-led good government panel has been holding parallel hearings. In an ANC interview, he said he called the inquiry to show the Senate how to properly conduct them.

READ: Senate panel can't contact Pharmally exec who testified on face shields

Immediately after her disclosure at the Senate probe, Mago was unreachable and failed to attend the next hearing. After almost a week, during which lawmakers feared for her safety, Mago resurfaced at the House of Representatives despite offers from the Senate to protect her. 

Aglipay said in a letter addressed to Gordon that Mago voluntarily went into House custody.

"In adherence to inter-parliamentary courtesy, may we inform you that Ms. Krizle Grace Mago of Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corporation has been placed under the protective custody of the House of Representatives. Ms. Mago, on her own volition, arrived at the premises of the House," Aglipay said in a letter addressed to Gordon earlier.

"Should you require her participation in any of your hearings, please communicate with the committee secretariat and we will make the necessary arrangements for it," he added.

But the lower chamber's hearings on the same issue draw a stark contrast to those of the Senate, as lawmakers in the mostly pro-administration House of Representatives focused on showing that the deals with Pharmally were above board.

Aglipay, at the House hearings on the same issue, went as far as suggesting the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee's investigation was only an opportunity for lawmakers to posture ahead of the 2022 polls.

"If she's already in the hands of [the House], they shouldn't add anything else [to their agreement.] We're happy that she's there, she's safe...but of course, she's still liable to whatever she said in the Senate," Gordon said Sunday.  

Gordon said he hoped Mago would still attend the Senate hearings, pointing to the evidence that it was her who drew money from the Department of Budget and Management.  — with reports from Bella Perez-Rubio 





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