TURNING POINT: Connecting the Dots

NAAWAN, Misamis Oriental (MindaNews / 15 September) – In some transactions, Procurement Service-Department of Budget and Management (PS-DBM) directed inspectors to sign inspection report, needless to say, without seeing the goods, before delivery of imported goods from China.

With the inspection report, PS-DBM may now pay the domestic agent- supplier of the ghost delivery. With the payment, the agent-supplier from the Philippines may now pay the import from China.

This, initially, how a domestic supplier, apparently, Pharmally, made first millions worth of transactions with PS-DBM – using government money, clearly in connivance with PS-DBM officials.

Pharmally, accordingly, delivered 500,000 face masks, before the supply contract was awarded to it, and before receiving the purchase order.

Pharmally had no warehouse, no inventory of face masks yet delivered volumes ahead of the supply contract and purchase order.

Question: Was the 500,000 face masks the ones imported from China using government money?

There’s a saying in Filipino “Niluluto tayo sa sarili nating mantika.(We are being cooked in our own oil/fat.)

In more recent transactions, without enough money to buy billions worth of face masks, face shields, test-kits and personal protective equipment, Pharmally asked and was given help to access funding and supplies by former Palace Chinese economic adviser, Michael Yang. Thus, Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corporation was able to bag supply contracts from PS-DBM worth billions of pesos, such that by the end of 2020, it made a killing of nearly P12B from favored transactions with its lone customer – the Philippine government, a phenomenal achievement considering that the corporation was only a few months old with only P625,000 paid-up capital when it started its business.

Duterte defended Yang saying his friend only acted as middleman of the government in its transaction with Chinese businessmen in the procurement of medical supplies in response to the pandemic.

Meanwhile, the Department of Health (DOH) unloaded P42B to PS-DBM as its agent to buy bulk of medical supplies and equipment. In the face shield procurement, PS-DBM bought the item at P120/unit from suppliers and sold it back to DOH at P124/unit (another instance of niluluto ng sariling mantika ) with P4 margin/unit at that.

Asked why DOH bought its own supply of face shields in the hands of its agent-buyer, PS-DBM, Duque explained what DOH was buying was not its own supply but from the common supply store of PS-DBM. Why would PS-DBM have a common supply for face shields when government potential buyers of this item are only government hospitals nationwide that receive this and other supplies free from DOH? And why still buy when you have your own supply with PS-DBM?

What is unfolding before us in the government’s response to the pandemic is no longer a whiff but evidently a stinking corruption of no historical comparison. Whose head do you think will roll?

President Rodrigo Duterte wants Gordon’s head to roll for alleged mishandling of government’s funds in the Philippine Red Cross.

Sen. Gordon was once a loyal ally of the President in the Senate. (Remember the Senate probe on the Davao Death Squad and the case of the smuggled P6.4-billion worth of shabu where  presidential son Paulo was linked? In both probes, the Dutertes were cleared). Now, the senator comes as his own man. He is unfazed by the distraction, by the squid-ink squirting tactics of DU30. The stinking genie is, after all, already out of the uncorked bottle, and is already in the open.

The die is cast.

MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. William R. Adan, Ph.D., is retired professor and former chancellor of Mindanao State University at Naawan, Misamis Oriental, Philippines.)