Duterte tells Senate: You can crumple Pharmally, we don’t care about it
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has told the Senate that he does not care about what would happen to Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp., adding that they could “crumple it” by investigating it thoroughly for alleged irregularities in the procurement of pandemic supplies.
Duterte said during his pre-recorded address aired on Tuesday morning that for him, there is no issue with Pharmally as far as they are concerned, because the medical supplies required from the company was already delivered.
Pharmally is the subject of a Senate blue ribbon committee inquiry after it was revealed that at least P8.7 billion of the Department of Health’s fund transfers to the Department of Budget and Management’s Procurement Service (PS-DBM) were used for contracts with the trading company.
“We did not shell out anything before delivery. Para sa akin, tapos na kami. ‘Yong Pharmally na ‘yan pati droga, bahala na kayo. Wala akong paki-alam dyan sa Pharmally, gusto niyo — you can crumple Pharmally, wala kaming paki-alam dyan,” Duterte said.
(We did not shell out anything before delivery. For me, that’s already done. That Pharmally and your drug accusations, it’s all up to you. I do not care about Pharmally, if you want, you can crumple Pharmally, we don’t care about it.)
“Basta ‘yong paki-alam namin, nag-order kami, dumating, tama ‘yong nag-order, tapos ang presyo it was negotiated. Ngayon meron kaming ilabas na all of these things were done in accordance with law even the pricing,” he added.
(What we’re after is that we ordered, the procurement arrived, it was correct, and the price was negotiated. Now, we would release other information showing that all of these things were done in accordance with law, even the pricing.)
Duterte’s statement came after he required resource persons from the executive branch to seek clearance from him first before attending the blue ribbon committee hearings chaired by Senator Richard Gordon.
The President then lambasted Gordon, asking what else was he looking for since the face masks, face shields, testing kits, and the personal protective equipment (PPE) sets are already in the government’s hands.
He also chided the senator for spending long hours on the hearing while requiring people to attend despite not all of them being put to questioning.
“Are you crazy? Bakit gano’n, can you not approximate the time that you take to make these persons testify, question and answer, lalo na ikaw Gordon, abugado ka. Ano bang kakalkalin mo? Nandyan na ‘yong medisina, ginagamit na namin,” Duterte said.
(Are you crazy? Why would you do that, can you not approximate the time that you take to make these persons testify, question and answer, especially you Gordon, you are a lawyer. What are you trying to unearth? The equipment is here, we are already using it.)
“Para sa akin, tapos na ang trabaho (For me, job’s already done),” he added.
Gordon’s committee has been probing Pharmally for possible overpriced supplies, and more recently, into its financial origins as it questioned how it was able to bag billions of contracts with just a capital of P625,000.
Among those being investigated are officials of Pharmally and its supposed financier, former Presidential economic adviser Michael Yang.
During the hearing on Monday, Gordon asked Pharmally director and supply chain head Linconn Ong to explain where they got the funds for each contract they entered with the government, for the supply of pandemic equipment like face masks and personal protective equipment (PPE).
In two instances — transactions involving P3.82 billion and P2.877 billion — Ong said that he sought help from Yang to mount the needed funds.
The first Pharmally transaction that Ong said was done with Yang’s help was for the purchase of two million PPE sets worth P1,910 each, for a total price of P3.82 billion.
The second transaction is for the purchase of 41,400 RT-PCR COVID-19 testing kits from China-based BGI Genomics, each priced at P69,500. The total price was P2.877 billion.
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.