Drilon warns Pharmally auditor: Present financial documents or lose license
MANILA, Philippines — The Senate blue ribbon committee has warned the external auditor of Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp. that her license may be revoked if she fails to produce the documents requested.
Minority floor leader and Senator Franklin Drilon gave the warning to auditor Iluminada Sebial during the committee’s hearing into the alleged overpriced pandemic supplies on Tuesday, as he sought to clarify entries in Pharmally’s financial statements and documents.
“I’m asking you now, submit to the Senate the supporting documents which you should have examined and which you have in your possession showing payment to the suppliers, would you do that in the next hearing?” Drilon said.
“Because if you do not do that Ms. Iluminada, I am telling you, I will recommend to the committee that we file a complaint against you, in the Professional Regulatory Commission for inexcusable negligence in the performance of your duty. So I would strongly advise you that you submit all the documents that I am requesting,” he added.
Prior to Drilon’s warning, he asked Sebial whether she really has seen financial statements she audited or if these were only fed to her by Pharmally officials.
Sebial signed the documents pertaining to the financial statements. In response, she said that she saw the documents but during the hearing, she is only referring to the list provided to her as the files are with Pharmally.
“Tinignan ko pa rin po ‘yon sir, inano ko rin po ‘yon, tinignan ko rin po ‘yon pero hindi na po ‘yong detailed audit,” Sebial told Drilon.
(I still looked at it sir, I still looked at it but not the detailed audit.)
“Tinignan mo, hindi mo man lang nakita, halimbawa, ‘yong deeds of donation doon sa P33 million, hindi po ba? Nakita ko naman po ‘yon? O listahan ang nakita mo?” Drilon asked.
(You looked at it, but you were not able to see, for example, the deeds of donation amounting to P33 million, right? Did you see that? Or were you looking through a list only?)
The senator also inquired about an unrealized foreign exchange gain, which is an increase in income due to favorable exchange rates, like peso to dollar gains. Before Drilon’s questioning, Pharmally president Huang Tzu Yen said they did not have a dollar deposit.
“Ang foreign exchange gain […] kung meron akong $100 sa bangko, at dineposito ko ang rate ay P50 to a dollar. ‘Pagkatapos tumaas by the end of the year nagiging P52, meron akong dalawang piso na foreign exchange gain, di po ba gano’n? How much was the dollar deposit of Pharmally to be able to generate P63 million in foreign exchange gains, magkano po ang kanilang dollar deposit?” Drilon asked.
(The foreign exchange gain works like this: If I have $100 in the bank, and I deposited with a rate of P50 to $1, and then by the end of the year it increased to P52 per dollar, I will have P2 of foreign exchange gain, right?)
“Sorry Chairman di ko po masagot ‘yon, I have no documents in my hands po, I will check pa sa Pharmally,” Sebial answered.
“Sorry, Chairman, I cannot answer that. I have no documents in my hands right now. I will check with Pharmally.)
Drilon eventually doubted if Sebial was telling the truth, opting to give her another chance so that she could spare herself from the legal woes that would affect Pharmally.
“You are changing your answer after being coached by somebody. Last time you said you did not see anything, you were just given a list. I’m telling you, be careful ha, because you’re under oath,” Drilon said.
“I have been a lawyer for almost 50 years, I can know when the witness is lying, and I think you are lying. But I will give you a chance. I will ask the committee to give you a chance. Tell us the truth because we have remedies under the law to make a person tell the truth,” he added.
On the other hand, blue ribbon committee chair Senator Richard Gordon urged her to tell the truth as she will be left hanging by Pharmally in the end.
“Ma’am ‘wag kayong pumayag na malaglag kayo dyan, kung nalalaman niyo na, magsabi na kayo para hindi tayo mahirapan kasi malalaglag kayo dyan eh. Para hindi naman masaktan ‘yong practice niyo,” Gordon warned.
(Ma’am, please don’t allow yourself to be sacrificed, if you know something, better say it so it would not be difficult for you. You would be left hanging. Do that so your practice won’t be harmed.)
“You’re just parang panakip lang kayo sa kanilang mga ginagawang kabuktutan. Kung hindi niyo pa nakikita ‘yan eh nakaka-awa naman kayo ayaw naman namin kayong ipahamak,” he advised.
(You’re just a bottle cap to their illegal deeds. If you have not seen that yet, then it is such a pity. It would help if you were not harmed and dragged into this issue.)
Pharmally is at the center of the Senate’s investigation on the Commission on Audit (COA) report that showed deficiencies in the Department of Health (DOH) COVID-19 funds amounting to P67.32 billion.
Part of that P67.32 billion is the P42 billion funds transferred by DOH to PS-DBM. The procuring agency then gave P8.7 billion worth of contracts to Pharmally, despite having a small capital of P625,000.
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