COA will look into the contracts of Pharmally

Published September 17, 2021, 4:21 PM

by Mario Casayuran

The Commission on Audit (COA) will now look into the contracts and documents of Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corporation which is linked to questionable awards of billions of pesos worth of COVID 19-related medical supplies.

COA Commissioner Michael Aguinaldo said this when asked whether there was corruption at the Department of Health in its recent audit report which found ’’deficiencies’’ in the handling by the Department of Health (DOH) of its P68 billion funds.

Asked by Senator Christopher ‘’Bong’’ Go, Aguinaldo said the COA recent initial report on DOH showed that there was no government money lost to corruption.

Aguinaldo said the COA would now look at the contracts and documents of Pharmally as sought by a member of the House of Representative during a budget hearing and on some revelations in the Senate committee hearings.

Findings by COA of ‘’indications of fraud’’ would be referred to the Office of Ombudsman, he assured Go.

This was in today’s hybrid public hearing by the Senate Blue Ribbon committee chaired by Senator Richard J. Gordon on the controversial contract awards of DOH’s P42 billion COVID-19 response funds by the Procurement Service Department of Budget and Management (PS-DBM) to alleged choice bidders.

Aguinaldo said the DOH has submitted to COA almost all the documents needed to clarify the COA findings.

Since the COA had asked government agencies, including the DOH, to submit their action plans to address its recommendations in 60 days, Aguinaldo told Go that DOH submitted last night (September 16) almost all their action plans.

Before asking Aguinaldo about the COA initial audit report, Go told the committee that he and President Duterte, with 16 million Filipinos who voted for him in 2016, hate corrupt persons and would rather see them behind bars.

` ‘’I believe in the President. I will sink and swim with the President,’’ Go said, adding that he respects the Senate where he is a member.

` He pleaded with his colleagues not to mix politics in the current committee hearing ‘’but we should help one another in the midst of the pandemic.’’

Go recalled President Duterte telling senators to do whatever they like with Pharmally.

He also recalled hearing then Davao city Mayor Rodrigo Roa Duterte telling his former economic adviser, Michael Yang, that he would bury him in Davao should he be linked to illegal drugs and ‘’any kalokohan.’’