Hontiveros to DBM-PS: Stop accepting proposals from ‘dubious’ supplier
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Risa Hontiveros on Monday called on the Department of Budget and Management-Procurement Service (DBM-PS) to stop accepting proposals from its “biggest supplier” of pandemic response supplies due to “close links” with a foreign firm flagged for financial fraud by the Taiwanese government.
“Pera ng taumbayan ang ginagamit para bayaran ang bilyon-bilyong halaga ng kontrata para sa ating COVID-19 response. Hindi pwedeng ang kaban ng bayan ay napupunta pala sa mga kumpanyang hindi pala mapagkakatiwalaan. This dubious supplier must go,” Hontiveros said in a statement.
During a Senate hearing last Friday, senators learned that the DBM-PS, which was earlier tapped by the Department of Health (DOH) to procure medical supplies for the pandemic response, awarded P8.6 billion in contracts to Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp.
Senators questioned why the DBM-PS awarded the contracts to a less-known company, which was only several months old when it started bagging government procurement deals in 2020.
“It is unacceptable that DBM continues to award Pharmally with contracts. Is the DBM simply failing to do its due diligence or is it in cahoots with this questionable local firm?” Hontiveros went on.
“Either way, it is deplorable all the same. We should not hesitate to end contracts with companies that may be involved with illegal activities, whether here or abroad,” she added.
In the same public hearing, Hontiveros had flagged Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp.’s “possible links” to a foreign firm she identified as Pharmally International Holdings, which the senator said was “flagged by the Taiwanese government for financial fraud.”
In September last year, Hontiveros had already flagged Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp. after it sold two million units of personal protective equipment (PPE) for P1,910 each from April to May 2020 for P3.8-billion.
Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon also earlier raised the P480-million contract awarded to Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp. for the procurement of test kits, which he said was overpriced by P208 million.
Despite this, Hontiveros said the firm still recently won another P744-million contract for the procurement of 17,000 RT-PCR test kits for P45,550 each, signed in June 2021.
“Isang taon na ang lumipas, tapos hindi man lang nag-abala ang DBM na suriin ang kumpanyang bilyon-bilyon na ang kita?” she said.
“Sa imbestigasyon namin sa Senado, paulit-ulit nang lumilitaw ang pangalan nitong Pharmally. Ilang warning pa dapat ang kailangan bago mabahala ang DBM at huminto na ang pagbibigay ng kontrata sa kanila? Kahit ilang red flags pa ang nagwawagayway, nagbubulag-bulagan parin ang mga corrupt,” she added.