Christopher Lao, Dargani siblings on Ombudsman’s top list for graft raps
MANILA, Philippines — The Office of the Ombudsman has recommended filing graft complaints against officials of the Procurement Service of the Department of Budget and Management (PS-DBM) and Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp. due to their involvement in allegedly anomalous contracts.
In a resolution released on Thursday, the Office of the Ombudsman moved to recommend filing three counts of complaints for violation of Section 3(e) of Republic Act No. 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act against the following individuals:
- former PS-DBM head Lloyd Christopher Lao
- former PS-DBM official and Deputy Ombudsman Warren Rex Liong
- former PS-DBM official Paul Jasper de Guzman
- Pharmally official Twinkle Dargani
- Pharmally official Mohit Dargani
- Pharmally official Linconn Ong
- Pharmally head Huang Tzu Yen
Pharmally was dragged into the spotlight during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic after the House of Representatives and the Senate investigated allegations that they overpriced face masks, face shields, and other personal protective equipment (PPEs).
According to the Commission on Audit’s report of the Department of Health (DOH), there were deficiencies in the P67.32 billion COVID-19 funds amounting to P42 billion, including funds transferred by DOH to the PS-DBM.
PS-DBM then tapped Pharmally to supply the health equipment, signing an P8.7 billion contract despite the company having a small paid-up capital of P625,000.
During the hearings, it was revealed that masks were sold by Pharmally to the government at P28 per piece when local manufacturers were selling them at P13 per piece.
However, government workers said that the prices of the emergency procurement made with Pharmally were high because of the supply shortage during the start of the pandemic.