Senator Hontiveros on government-Pharmally deal: heads will roll

Senator Risa Hontiveros during the launch of “Healthy Pinas Mobile Clinic” in Brgy. Anoling, SenateRosario, Agusan del Sur on Friday (Nov. 5, 2021). MindaNews photo by CHRIS V. PANGANIBAN

ROSARIO, Agusan del Sur (MindaNews / 5 November) — Heads will likely roll as a result of the Senate investigation into the alleged anomalies attending the transaction between the government and Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp. for the purchase of medical supplies for the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Senator Risa Hontiveros said Friday.

“Posible, posible po yan,” (Possible, that’s possible) Hontiveros said when asked if prosecution could be expected after the investigation.

Some senators have accused Pharmally of selling overpriced medical items to the government. They also questioned how the company managed to bag a multibillion peso procurement deal when it only had a paid-up of P650 million.

The Procurement Service-Department of Budget and Management awarded the contracts to Pharmally.

Hontiveros was in Barangay Anoling here to grace the launch of the “Healthy Pinas Mobile Clinic” that gives free medical checkup and medicines to residents.

She said some resource persons from the government had admitted to the Senate blue ribbon committee that they were already being probed by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR).

She said some of them told the committee they no longer wanted to answer questions during the hearings after learning that the BIR had started doing its own investigation of possible tax fraud.

“Na appreciate ko ang BIR, kahit nasa ilalim  pa sila sa memo (from Malacanang) na hindi humarap sa amin, nag iimbestiga na pala sila (I appreciate the BIR. Even they were under memorandum from Malacanang not to appear before us, they already conducted their own probe,” the opposition lawmaker said.

Hontiveros said the Pharmally controversy would end up in the filing of charges like in previous cases that were investigated by the Senate.

She cited that the Department of Justice, National Bureau of Investigation and the Office of the Ombudsman used the findings of their investigations to build up cases related to the so-called pastillas scam at the Bureau of Immigration.

“I am confident that law enforcement and investigative authorities will make use of the findings to file necessary charges against those involved, “she said.

She assured the committee will complete its tasks and submit a report before the start of the election period.

She said the investigation will conclude once committee chair Senator Richard Gordon declares they have enough facts and have explored all angles.

The committee will then come up with a recommendation on the possible course of action based on their report in aid of legislation. (Chris V. Panganiban/MindaNews)