De Lima urges AMLC to freeze assets of Pharmally execs
MANILA, Philippines — The government should now act to freeze the assets of the executives of Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp. after the revelations in the ongoing Senate probe of P11.5 billion worth of questionable contracts with the Duterte administration.
Detained Sen. Leila de Lima urged the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) on Saturday to apply for a freeze order and initiate forfeiture procedures on the properties of the Pharmally executives.
“There is an urgent need to freeze the assets of all these soulless monsters before they all fly away to the Caribbean with their plundered loot,” De Lima said in a statement from her detention cell in Camp Crame.
De Lima made the call following the revelations in the Senate blue ribbon on the fleet of luxury vehicles recently bought by Pharmally directors Linconn Ong, and siblings Mohit and Twinkle Dargani.
“Like everyone else, I was shocked by the parade of Lamborghinis, Porsches and Lexuses owned by the directors of Pharmally who apparently went wild on a luxury car buying spree after receiving their P8.7-billion windfall,” she said.
De Lima noted, however, that the Senate revelations did not include the Maserati purportedly owned by former Malacañang aide Lloyd Christopher Lao, former head of the Procurement Service of the Department of Budget and Management, who admitted to awarding some questionable contracts worth billions of pesos to Pharmally, a company put up in September 2019 with a capitalization of only P625,000.
“We all know how they used sweet talk as capital, especially that of Michael Yang, whose words seem so sweet for Duterte that he chooses to act as Pharmally’s defense counsel,” she said.
President Rodrigo Duterte has been making public rants against the Senate probe into Pharmally, up to the point of making ad hominem arguments against senators, particularly Sen. Richard Gordon, chair of the Senate blue ribbon committee.
Sen. Panfilo Lacson, another target of the president’s bizarre ad hominem tirades, threw his support behind Gordon and the Senate blue ribbon probe.
“Our concern revolves around the issue of corruption. That is why I said that, as far as the inquiry looking into irregularities [is concerned], we support the chairman of the blue ribbon committee,” he said in a radio interview on Saturday.
According to Lacson, more details have started to emerge from the hearings despite the supposed lack of cooperation from key personalities led by the Pharmally officers.
Lacson conceded that Pharmally executives’ purchase of expensive vehicles after bagging contracts with the government may be considered circumstantial but may also “buttress suspicions that they made a windfall.”
Lacson also belied the president’s claim that the Commission on Audit (COA) had cleared the Department of Health on the use of its pandemic funds, because the COA’s mandate is to audit funds and not investigate and unveil corruption.
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