Senators tell Mago: ‘Tell the truth’

Cecille Suerte Felipe - The Philippine Star
Senators tell Mago: âTell the truthâ
“May you find the strength and the wisdom to tell the truth,” said Sen. Francis Pangilinan to Mago at the conclusion of Friday’s Senate Blue Ribbon committee hearing on the Pharmally scandal.
The STAR / Paolo Romero, file

MANILA, Philippines — Senators are encouraging resigned Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp. official Krizle Grace Mago to tell the truth.

“May you find the strength and the wisdom to tell the truth,” said Sen. Francis Pangilinan to Mago at the conclusion of Friday’s Senate Blue Ribbon committee hearing on the Pharmally scandal.

Mago recanted her Sept. 24 testimony that the beleaguered company swapped old certificates of face shields sold to the government, in the process swindling the Philippine government.

Mago admitted that the whole committee investigation was too much for her to handle and that she felt “pressured” into making such an inaccurate response.

“I did feel pressure (during) the whole investigation. At the same time, I was trying not to be evasive and answer questions, because there is also a threat of being cited for contempt if I become evasive in the questions of the Senate,” the embattled Mago explained.

Pangilinan, however, has another theory to Mago’s repudiation of her earlier statements, including being intimidated by powers-that-be not to spill the truth.

“I know it’s not easy. I’ve seen a lot of these hearings in the last 20 years. I know there is a big possibility that someone is scaring you, and you are scared because if you reveal who that is, you will be going up against them. You are just thinking of your welfare, I understand that,” Pangilinan said.

“It’s really scary that when you do talk then it hurts or implicates someone. We all don’t want that. We all get scared whenever we implicate or go up against anyone – or someone is hurt with the truth,” he added.

But amid Mago’s retraction, Pangilinan hopes that the resigned Pharmally official would muster enough courage to rectify the mistake, instead of remaining an accomplice to a heinous crime committed against the Filipino people.

In doing so, Pangilinan told Mago, she would be on the right side of history and would not carry any guilt during her lifetime.

“You are young, we all make mistakes. You may have come up short and made a mistake. It is good for you to think about it because in the context of events in our country today, thousands have died, millions have fallen ill and many have run out of money for hospital expenses, and the fear continues,” Panglinan stressed.

“This is your opportunity to correct what happened by voluntarily telling the truth so that it will not happen again,” he added.

Sen. Panfilo Lacson said Mago was indeed pressured during her appearance before the Senate Blue Ribbon committee last Sept. 24 as she claims, to tell the truth, and not to lie.

Lacson thus disproved Friday Mago’s claim that she was “intimidated” into implicating Pharmally officials in instructing a warehouseman to tamper with “expired” labels on face shields.

“If she was pressured at all, she was pressured to tell the truth and not to lie. She was very calm and her testimony was unaided,” Lacson said after questioning Mago at the Senate hearing on irregularities in the procurement of medical supplies to deal with the pandemic.

Lacson was referring to Mago’s claim when she went to the House of Representatives that she was “intimidated” during hearings at the Senate.

Lacson pointed out he even gave Mago enough time to respond without pressure.

“I did not even mention the name of Mohit Dargani. In fact, I had no idea who gave her instructions to replace the stickers,” Lacson noted.

At Friday’s hearing, Lacson had a video clip played showing Mago testifying before Lacson that she acted on instructions of higher management to instruct a warehouseman to tamper with “expired” labels on face shields.

During the Sept. 24 hearing, Mago said she particularly acted on the instructions of Dargani.

Dargani and his fellow Pharmally executive and sister, Twinkle, were arrested while trying to take a flight abroad earlier this month.

“You could have mentioned Linconn Ong because he is part of the Pharmally management. You could also have mentioned Twinkle Dargani, and all other people and management of Pharmally. But you specifically mentioned Mohit Dargani,” Lacson told Mago.

On the other hand, Blue Ribbon committee chairman Richard Gordon told Mago that she perjured herself, while Senate minority leader Franklin Drilon pointed out that she volunteered Dargani’s name.

Jail time

General Rene Samonte of the Office of the Senate Sergeant-at-Arms said Dargani and Ong were transferred to the Pasay City Jail.

He said the order to transfer Pharmally executives Dargani and Ong from the Senate detention rooms to Pasay City Jail would depend on whether Dargani could produce Pharmally’s financial documents subpoenaed by the Blue Ribbon committee.

“They were not supposed to be transferred yet, Mohit has not given the exact location. I’m making sure he knows where he’s going and what to prioritize because he mentions three things: office, residence and warehouse,” said Samonte.

He said the Senate security team is ready to accompany Dargani to get the boxes of documents but he said Dargani cannot decide yet whether to go to Pharmally’s warehouse, office or their residence.

“He cannot tell us which areas or addresses we should go first. I said we can go to all three areas. As of noon, we are still here in the Senate,” Samonte said.

Gordon, in yesterday’s virtual hearing, instructed the Office of the Senate Sergeant-at-Arms to accompany the Pharmally executives in securing the firm’s financial documents for scrutiny of the committee.

“We will be waiting for further instructions of the committee after it has studied the said financial documents,” Samonte added.

The Dargani siblings Mohit and Twinkle appeared for the first time since their arrest last Nov. 14 as they were about to fly out from Davao City, and senators were asking them again to provide the source documents of their submitted financial statements, but Mohit – who was the one answering the queries – said he would still have to look for them as he believed they were “in boxes” somewhere.



  • 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