Gordon says Pharmally deals ‘grand conspiracy’ with ‘imprimatur of executive’ | Inquirer News
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Gordon says Pharmally deals ‘grand conspiracy’ with ‘imprimatur of executive’

/ 09:51 PM October 19, 2021
Gordon says Pharmally deals ‘grand conspiracy’ with ‘imprimatur of executive’

FILE PHOTO: Senator Richard Gordon. (Screengrab/Senate PRIB)

MANILA, Philippines — A “grand conspiracy” that “could never have happened without the “imprimatur of the executive, from beginning to end.”

This was how Senator Richard Gordon described the controversial transactions of the government with Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp., which bagged multi-billion-peso contracts for the supply of pandemic-related goods.

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At the resumption of the Senate blue ribbon committee probe into the government’s pandemic purchases on Tuesday, Gordon said in his opening speech that the investigation so far finds that there were “unwarranted benefits and advantage” given to Pharmally.

“It is clear and categorical to us that this grand conspiracy could never have happened without the imprimatur of the executive from beginning to end,” the senator said.

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“From meetings with Pharmally to the appointments of selected people who are extremely [loyal] to him (President Rodrigo Duterte) is the basis for the appointment and not competence,” he added.

READ: Duterte defends appointment of Davao people in gov’t

Gordon was referring to former Procurement Service-Department of Budget and Management (PS-DBM) officer-in-charge Christopher Lloyd Lao and former director Warren Liong, who were at the helm of the procurement body when the transactions were entered into.

Both Lao and Liong have denied irregularities in the deals the PS-DBM awarded to Pharmally.

READ: Ex-procurement chief insists no overprice in purchase of PPE supplies

“Sa ating imbestigasyon, malinaw po ang  ‘unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference o favoritism’ na binigay sa Pharmally na mayroon lamang pong P625,000, halos P11 billion ang binigay sa isang maliit na korporasyon na ni walang experience,” Gordon continued.

(Based on our investigation, it is clear that there were ‘unwarranted benefits, advantages or preferences, or favoritism’ given to Pharmally with a paid-up capital of only P625,000 but was awarded up to P11 billion, they are a small corporation with no experience.)

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READ: Mago absent as senators pound on PS-DBM ‘favoritism’

“Walang karanasan ang Pharmally sa pakikipagkontrata… Lantaran po ang pagbigay ng PS-DBM, sa pamumuno ni Usec. Lao, sa Pharmally ng mga kontratang ‘manifestly and grossly disadvantageous to the government’… Talagang hirap na hirap ang taumbayan sa paglabag ng Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act,” the senator added.

(Pharmally had no experience in bidding for government contracts… The PS-DBM, under Usec. Lao awarded ‘manifestly and grossly disadvantageous to the government’… The Filipino people are suffering because of this violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.)

READ: Senate panel recommends charges vs Michael Yang, Pharmally, PS-DBM execs for pandemic fund mess

Further, Gordon said the investigation revealed “unconscionable, unabashed, and unethical circumventions of our republican way of governance.”

He then vowed to continue investigating the matter despite what many see as attempts to restrict the ongoing probe.

READ: 5 ex-DOH chiefs, groups and docs decry Duterte’s attempt to derail pandemic spending probe

“The road is long, but we will finish it and we will finish it right,” the senator said.

Palace spokesperson Harry Roque, meanwhile, dismissed Gordon’s “grand conspiracy” remark as “hearsay.”

“Kuwentong kutsero po iyan…pero kapag ebidensiya po, walang ganyang ebidensiya,” Roque said during a Palace briefing.

(That is hearsay…but when it comes to the evidence, there is no evidence that would prove that.)

“Hindi nga napatunayan na may kinalaman iyong relasyon ng Presidente sa pagbili ng mga PPEs (personal protective equipment sets),” the Palace official added.

(It was not even proven that the President was involved in the procurement of PPEs.)

READ: Duterte admits he ordered Duque to skip bidding on PPE purchase

During the course of the inquiry, senators have repeatedly questioned the Department of Health’s transfer of P42 billion PS-DBM for the procurement of pandemic response supplies in 2020.

A portion of this amount went to over P8.6 billion worth of contracts awarded to Pharmally last year. Senators doubted the financial capacity of the firm since it was only established in 2019 with a small capital of P625,000 when it secured the supply deals.

READ: Duterte set to bar Cabinet men from Senate probe on pandemic purchase deals

READ: Mago absent as senators pound on PS-DBM ‘favoritism’

Pharmally chairman and president Huang Tzu Yen, for his part, previously denied that they were favored in any way in the government’s procurement of medical supplies, saying the small company has been “unfairly prejudged.”

KGA

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TAGS: COVID-19 pandemic, executive, Nation, News, Pharmally, President Rodrigo Duterte, Senate blue ribbon committee, Senator Richard Gordon
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