Senate Blue Ribbon panel subpoenas Pharmally accountant

Published September 30, 2021, 6:48 PM

by Hannah Torregoza 

The Senate Blue Ribbon Committee on Thursday, September 30, issued a subpoena against the chief accountant of Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corporation.

At the 7th hearing of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee on the government’s purchase of COVID-19 supplies, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon (left) asks Pharmally Pharmaceuticals Corp. director Linconn Ong (right) about the firm’s donations amounting to P33 million in 2020. (Screen capture from Senate livestream/YouTube)

This came about after Pharmally’s outsourced accountant, Iluminada Sebial, told senators that Pharmally’s management had never given her copies of documents that are supposed to support the company’s financial statements.

Among the documents which Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon was seeking was the deed of donations for the P33 million given by Pharmally to various government institutions in 2020.

According to Sebial, she did not receive the deed of donations and Pharmally only showed her a list of the beneficiaries of the P33-million. Sebial confirmed it was the company’s chief accountant, Jeff Mariano who showed her the list.

Mariano, she said, also blocked the transfer of documents.

“I just audited their accounts once and when I was asking for the documents, they don’t want to give it to me,” Sebial told senators at the continuation of the Senate panel’s investigation into the alleged overpriced COVID-19 pandemic supplies.

She said she was paid P4,000 by Pharmally for her one-time audit services.

When pressed about Mariano, Pharmally president and company director Twinkle Dargani confirmed that he was their accountant.

Drilon then asked Sen. Richard Gordon, chair of the blue ribbon panel, to issue a subpoena against Mariano. He also asked that the panel to subpoena the documents pertaining to the deeds of donations by Pharmally, among others.

Gordon then ordered blue ribbon director general Noel Quimbo to issue the subpoenas.

“I want to know what is the basis of this and so because we cannot complete this investigaton unless we know all of this by just looking at the financial statements and they do not want to reveal to us what is the basis of all these entries here,” Drilon pointed out.

Senators had warned Sebial she could be held liable for possible violation of ethical standards of accountants and might lose her license for inexcusable negligence when she audited Pharmally’s financial statements.