Pharmally’s Dargani siblings skip Senate hearing amid warrants for arrest

Bella Perez-Rubio - Philstar.com
Pharmally�s Dargani siblings skip Senate hearing amid warrants for arrest
Pharmally executives Mohit Dargani and his sister Twinkle Dargani attend a Senate panel hearing on September 10, 2021.
Screen grab / Senate of the Philippines YouTube page

MANILA, Philippines — Two Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp. executives, siblings Mohit and Twinkle Dargani, were no-shows at a Senate Blue Ribbon Committee hearing more than a week after they were cited in contempt and ordered detained by the panel. 

Retired Maj. Gen. Rene Samonte, Senate sergeant-at-arms, told Philstar.com on Thursday that four unsuccessful attempts have been made since last week to serve arrest warrants to the Dargani siblings. 

"[Three] times in their condos, and one in a residential subdivision," Samonte said, referring to Senate security's attempts to arrest and detain the Pharmally executives in the last nine days. "All vacant, no occupant at the time of serving."

The siblings were cited in contempt by the panel last week after they refused to submit source documents related to Pharmally's sales and purchases, citing advice from legal counsel. The auditor who signed off on the firm's financial statements admitted during the same hearing that she never saw the source documents either. 

Senators have said these are key to assessing whether there was overpricing in Pharmally's deals with the government which are the largest pandemic contracts awarded by the Department of Budget and Management's procurement service by far. 

The firm has secured contracts worth P10.4 billion as of last month, according to figures submitted by the DBM to the Senate. 

The accountant who drafted Pharmally's financial statement, Jeff Mariano, appeared before the Senate panel for the first time on Thursday. He, too, said he no longer has access to the source documents senators have been seeking. 

Mariano also belied a claim from Mohit Dargani, the firm's corporate secretary and treasurer, that the money he used to purchase a luxury car for his sister was a shareholder's advance approved by Pharmally's board. Mariano said he saw no documents to corroborate this. 

Certified public accountant Mon Abrea told senators that a board resolution would have been required for such an advance. 

Dargani earlier admitted that he did not pay the mandated donor's tax for the gift. 

Darganis' income taxes scrutinized 

While Pharmally's source documents remain elusive, a summary of the firm and its executives' tax returns based on documents submitted by the Bureau of Internal Revenue was bared by senators. 

READ: Senators scrutinize tax returns of Pharmally, execs

Despite his affinity for luxury cars, Mohit Dargani paid only P97,241 in income taxes in 2020. The status of the payment has also been marked by BIR as "suspended." 

The year prior, he paid an even lower P22,062, according to a presentation made by Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon. 

His sister paid P29,187 in 2018 and just P1,000 in 2020. There was no information available for her income taxes in 2019, 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 the relevant periods," Drilon said during his presentation. 

With his whereabouts still unknown, Dargani on October 22 released a statement to several media outlets, alleging that the Senate committee "failed to treat us justly" and is falsely accusing the firm "for political gain."

"We tried our best to cooperate and respect them, but this was completely out of harmony with accepted legal standards," he said.

This claim was disputed by senators who reminded Dargani that refusing to submit subpoenas documents is tantamount to non-cooperation with the probe. 

"As Mr. Dargani continued to refuse to give us the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, he left the committee no choice but to use its rarely-used power to cite him for contempt — not to punish him, but to compel him to give us a complete picture of the issue being investigated," Blue Ribbon chairman Richard Gordon said then. 

vuukle comment




  • 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!

Get Updated:

Signup for the News Round now

or sign in with