COA starts special audit on deals between Pharmally, DBM-PS

Published September 30, 2021, 6:40 PM

by Hannah Torregoza 

The Commission on Audit (COA) has started conducting a special audit on the controversial contracts entered into by the Department of Budget and Management’s Procurement Service (DBM-PS) with Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corporation.

Commission on Audit

COA chairman Michael Aguinaldo confirmed this at the continuation of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee’s hearing on the alleged overpriced COVID-19 pandemic supplies procurement by the government.

“Mr. Chairman, the special audit has already commenced. There had been a request during the budget hearing of the House (of Representatives). We already constituted a team to look at it,” Aguinaldo told Senate probers during the hearing Thursday, September 30.

Aguinaldo said the COA has been present in all the hearings held in the Senate and in the House. He said they will include documents that were revealed and submitted to the Senate in its own special audit report.

When asked by Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon when the special audit would be completed, Aguinaldo said a special audit usually takes 45 days but doubts that his team would be able to comply with such deadline.

“It would be reasonable to expect (us to finish it) baka end of this year, perhaps,” Aguinaldo said.

Drilon in response said he hopes that the COA would be able finish its special audit sooner so it can help lawmakers dig deeper into the controversial deals.

“Hopefully, you can help us in unearthing the truth in these transactions. If you can have it earlier it might be much better so we can also look at your findings when the committee prepares its report. If it’s feasible, Mr. Chairman,” Drilon said.

The COA chairman said they will strive to fast track their report and will expand their team so they can cover more areas to probe.

Drilon had earlier requested the COA and the Ombudsman to conduct a special probe into the P8.68-billion worth of COVID-19 supplies that the DBM-PS purchased from Pharmally, an undercapitalized firm.