DOJ awaits Senate report on gov’t deals with Pharmally to conduct probe if needed

Published September 22, 2021, 10:49 AM

by Jeffrey Damicog

Department of Justice

The Department of Justice (DOJ) has to wait for the Senate to finish its inquiry into the alleged anomalous government transactions with Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corporation involving more than P10 billion before it can start its own probe for criminal prosecution if warranted.

Justice Secretary Menardo I. Guevarra said the usual practice has been that “the Blue Ribbon Committee completes its investigation and furnishes the DOJ or the OMB (Office of the Ombudsman) a copy of its report for further criminal investigation and prosecution.”

“In fairness to everyone, we need to see the whole picture,” Guevarra said as he added that the DOJ “continues to monitor the Senate proceedings whenever our time permits.”

Being inquired into by the Senate are the alleged anomalous contracts awarded to Pharmally by the Procurement Service Department of Budget and Management (PS-DBM) for COVID-19-related medical supplies.

Senate Minority Leader Franklin M. Drilon had tagged the Pharmally-PS DBM contracts as ‘’premeditated plunder.’’

The contracts have raised eyebrows considering that Pharmally is an upstart and low-capital company.

The deals were allegedly bagged through the reported connections of former economic adviser Michael Yang with President Duterte.

Last Sept. 21, the Senate detained Linconn Ong, Pharmally director, after his arrest at his residence while he was virtually attending the hybrid public hearing of the Senate Blue Ribbon committee chaired by Sen. Richard J. Gordon.

The Senate committee had wanted to cite Ong in contempt for reportedly lying to committee members. He was placed under house arrest as he was COVID-19 positive. He was arrested and detained by the Senate when he was declared COVID-19 negative.

Senator Gordon had disclosed that Ong and two other Pharmally executives drive luxury cars. He said that Ong has two Porsche sports cars and a Lexus.