Senator flags Pharmally’s delivery of 2M masks sans request
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Risa Hontiveros has flagged Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp.’s supposed “unsolicited” delivery of two million pieces of surgical masks to the Procurement Service of the Department of Budget and Management (PS-DBM) in 2020.
During a hearing of the Senate blue ribbon committee on Friday, Hontiveros said the delivery was made even before Pharmally received a Request for Quotation (RFQ) from the DBM-PS, the first step in the procurement process.
“Ang nakapagtataka bakit hinayaan ito ng liderato ng PS-DBM? It seems a very powerful person is keeping our own government on a tight leash,” she claimed.
(What’s puzzling is that the leadership of the PS-DBM allowed this. It seems a very powerful person is keeping our own government on a tight leash.)
“Ang lakas naman ng loob nilang mag-deliver ng ganyan kadami [Such guts to deliver that much]. The only logical conclusion is that someone might have underhandedly guaranteed this contract for them even before any documentation was done. Ang tanong: Sino ang pinagpalang ito [The question is: Who is this blessed one]?”she added.
The senator presented a screenshot of a text exchange between her source, a former PS-DBM employee, and Pharmally representative Krizzle Mago.
In the text exchange Hontiveros showed, Mago had asked if the PS-DBM employee was aware that Pharmally delivered two million pieces of surgical masks to the Department.
In response, the former PS-DBM employee asked: “Wait 2 million????…akala ko 900K lang stock niyo. Uhm advance delivery ba ito[?]”
(Wait 2 million????…I thought you only had 900K in stock. Uhm, is this an advance delivery?)
Mago answered with: “Yes, advance haha.”
The former employee then asked her who instructed the delivery of the masks: “Yikes…sino nag-utos [Who ordered the delivery?]”
Mago then said she would have to ask her “bosses” since she herself was not aware of who ordered the delivery of the items.
Asked to reveal the “bosses” she was referring to, Mago, during the hearing, said she receives instructions from Pharmally corporate secretary and treasurer Mohit Dargani and director Linconn Ong.
Both Dargani and Ong denied knowledge of the supposed delivery.
Hontiveros, in explaining the process to be followed for an emergency procurement, said a request for proposals should come first.
Then the opening of proposals, evaluation, negotiation for the terms of delivery, among others, are the next steps.
A procuring agency will then issue a resolution recommending the awarding of a supply contract, a Notice of Award will be given to the supplier and a purchase order will be released, according to Hontiveros.
“Ang lakas naman ng kapit sa PS-DBM, gumagawa na yata ng sariling proseso,” the senator said.
(It seems that the firm has strong connections with the PS-DBM, they’re making their own process.)
“Nagpadala sila ng two million face masks na hindi pa nga sila nabibigyan ng presyo. The price of masks in the first quarter of 2020 was very volatile,” she pointed out.
(They delivered two million face masks when they have yet to be given a set price. The price of masks in the first quarter of 2020 was very volatile.)
Aside from the two million face masks supposedly delivered by Pharmally in advance, senators also earlier questioned how the firm delivered 500,000 pieces of face masks to the DBM-PS on March 25, 2020, the same day the agency emailed an RFQ to them.
Pharmally is at the center of the blue ribbon committee’s probe after it bagged over P8.6 billion worth of government deals last year despite not having a track-record of fulfilling big-ticket contracts.
It was disclosed that Pharmally had borrowed money from former presidential adviser Michael Yang to help them fulfill some of the government’s orders last year.
This, senators said, was an indication that Pharmally had no financial capacity to be given these procurement contracts.
Yang, for his part, maintained he has no ties with Pharmally and only introduced the company to Chinese suppliers.
Pharmally chairman and president Huang Tzu Yen, however, has previously denied that they were favored in any way in the government’s procurement of medical supplies in 2020, saying the firm has been “unfairly prejudged.”