Pharmally’s initial delivery of 500K face masks sans gov’t request – Senate panel

Published September 14, 2021, 11:40 AM

by Hannah Torregoza 

Members of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee on Monday, Sept. 13 grilled Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp. officials after they saw something “unusual” in the transaction involving the company’s delivery of 500,000 pieces of surgical masks to the Department of Budget and Management’s procurement service (DBM-PS).

During the committee’s sixth hearing, Sen. Richard Gordon, who chairs the blue ribbon panel, asked Pharmally why it was able to deliver the supplies sans a purchase order (PO) from the government, noting how it was able to deliver the goods immediately when it was only being asked for a quotation.

“Di ba nauna dapat muna ‘yung purchase order bago delivery? Pero ito request for quotation lang, nagdeliver kayo kaagad?” Gordon pointed out.

Gordon said this can be a clear indication that Pharmally was indeed a favored company.

“Bakit ka magdedeliver (Why are you going to deliver) on the same day kung request for quotation pa lang naman ang hinihingi (If you are just being asked for a quotation and nothing else)?” he pointed out.

“Ni wala pa ngang purchase order . Tapos wala rin daw silang inventory ng kanilang supplies. Mukhang magkakahulihan na tayo rito (There’s no purchase order. And they said they have no inventory of their supplies. It looks like we can see who is the culprit here),” Gordon said.

During the hearing, Pharmally executive Krizle Grace Mago revealed they received a request for quotation (RFQ) for the surgical masks on March 25, 2020 and they delivered it on that same day. The PO was issued later on in April 2020.

A retired officer of the DBM-PS’s inspection division, Jorge Mendoza, told senators admitted it was also unusual.

“The first one, the first PO, the 500,000, I happened to see it because this is the very first instance that we have received the face mask during that time of pandemic. There was confusion because there was no supplier, no PO at that time,” he said.

“That was not standard,” Mendoza said, answering in the affirmative when Sen. Francis Pangilinan asked if he finds the March 25, 2020 delivery as unusual.

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said the matter could be a “ghost delivery,” pointing out it is unusual for the items to be delivered in the absence of a PO.

“This is very confusing Mr. Chairman. I suspect that this is a ghost delivery,” Drilon said.

But during the hearing, Huang Tzu Yen, an executive at Pharmally, denied that their company was favored by the procurement entity.

“The company denies this. Pharmally Pharmaceutical is just like any business. Sometimes we win the business, and the customers purchase, sometimes they don’t and they go elsewhere. Pharmally Pharmaceutical does not always win,” Huang told the Senate panel.

“There have been 12 instances where the company bidded, and we lost. These are all public record. The company does not really have that 100 percent success story that some would want you to think. The contract values of these failed bids amount to approximately P14.48-billion,” he said.

“Surprisingly, no one seems to report on our failures. If we look closely at these numbers. The percentage of success bids to total number of bid attempts would indicate only a 52 percent success rate.

Huang further said that Pharmally merely worked “really hard” and tried to be awarded while it continued to successfully deliver on its obligations.

“There is absolutely no basis that this company can even be considered favored in any circumstances,” he said.