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Initial Pharmally report out next week

By: - Correspondent / @melvingasconINQ
/ 05:32 AM October 17, 2021
Sen. Richard Gordon

Sen. Richard Gordon (Screen grab/Senate PRIB)

MANILA, Philippines — The Senate blue ribbon committee will release next week its initial findings on the alleged misuse of pandemic funds, and will pinpoint the irregularities committed in the grant of around P11 billion worth of supply contracts to an undercapitalized firm, Sen. Richard Gordon said on Saturday.

Aside from specifying proposed legislation, the preliminary report will also highlight how the procurement law was circumvented and other supposed violations of the Antigraft and Corrupt Practices Act.

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“This report will be comprehensive, detailing what we have uncovered so far: what illegal acts were committed, which of the personalities involved should be held liable for violation of the procurement law, and who was behind the manipulation of processes in the purchases,” he said.

More persons summoned

The inquiry also resulted in the filing of proposed measures on the grant of special risk allowance for health workers.

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He clarified, however, that the inquiry is not about to be terminated, as the committee would still need to summon other personalities involved with the operations of Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp.

“There is this one Jayson Uson, who is listed as president in some of the companies. He has yet to appear. There is another one who signed for the payment of rentals of the buildings. He, too, has yet to appear. And Grace Nono Lim, who has been putting up a lot of alibis in our questioning,” he said.

Tax payment for luxury cars

Gordon, however, expressed appreciation over the position of Health Secretary Francisco Duque III supporting the continuation of the Senate investigation as well as the appearance and cooperation of Cabinet members invited to the hearings.

“There are still a lot of questions that remain unanswered, and whenever resource persons are made to testify, something will always be unearthed. So the attendance of these resource persons from the Cabinet is really very vital,” he said.

Among the questions that are still pending include the payment of taxes for the luxury cars of Pharmally executives, which are believed to have been imported, and some of which were claimed to have been given as donations.

“We also want to find out why Secretary Duque decided to transfer P42 billion to the [Procurement Service of the Department of Budget and Management (PS-DBM)], and if he was ordered to do so? And what were the processes that led up to the decision?” he said.

The Senate investigation also seeks to find out why the bulk of PS-DBM employees were contractual employees, whose retention were dependent on the behest of their superiors, Gordon said.

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Senators are also puzzled over the flow of money used by former presidential economic adviser Michael Yang in financing his businesses in Davao City, which supposedly began during the years when President Duterte was city mayor.

“But in all our questions, he has been evasive, and all he keeps saying is that these were all managed by his wife. He also refuses to answer how he managed to secure a permanent visa,” Gordon said.

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TAGS: pandemic response funds, Pharmally, Senate probe, Senator Gordon
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