Dargani assails Senate arrest order but Sotto insists it is 'constitutional'

Published October 22, 2021, 11:44 AM

by Mario Casayuran

Senate President Vicente C. Sotto III on Friday October 22 said the arrest order for the Dargani siblings is constitutional.

Sotto indicated that the Senate Blue Ribbon committee might recall its order placing the Dargani siblings in contempt only when they have submitted the corporate documents as asked by the committee.

The Senate chief issued the statement after Mohit Dargani, corporate secretary of Pharmallly Pharmaceutical Corporation, had issued a press statement complaining that the Gordon committee failed to treat them fairly.

’They treat us like criminals whose lives aren’t worthy of living anymore,’’ Mohit said.

The Senate security staff has been looking for Mohit Dargani and his sister, Twinkle, Pharmally president, after the Senate committee cited them in contempt and ordered their arrest during a recent virtual committee hearing.

Senators had wanted to see the corporate documents of Pharmally, specifically its alleged overpriced contracts with Procurement Service, Department of Budget and Management (DBM).

In the October hearing, Senator Richard J. Gordon cited a testimony of Raymond Abrea, a tax expert, that Pharmally should pay P2 billion in taxes on the P11.7 billion contracts signed with PS-DBM for the delivery of medical supplies needed by the Department of Health (DOH) to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. The deliveries were made in 2020 and 2021.

Senate Minority Leader Franklin M. Drilon maintained that ‘’premeditated plunder’’ was committed when PS-DBM awarded the P11.7 billion contract to Pharmally although its paid up capital was only P625,000.

Mohit Dargani stated that President Duterte had nothing to do with Pharmally’s transactions with PS-DBM.

‘’To cooperate in the Senate means they should submit the documents subject of subpoena duces tecum or as asked by a senator,’’ Sotto said in rebutting Mohit’s complaint.

‘’I suggest they read the PH Constitution!,’’ he added.

The Mohit Dargani press statement issued on Thursday stated that:

“The Blue ribbon failed to treat us justly. Rather than impartially listening to us, they tried to get us to incriminate ourselves.

‘’They want us detained because we asserted our rights, they can’t get what they want to hear from us. Walang kinalaman ang Presidente sa transactions namin with PS-DBM (President Duterte has nothing to do with Pharmally’s transactions with PS-DBM).

‘’We are being falsely accused for political gain. Malapit na eleksyon (The May 2022 election is approaching) and we are like hostages. Hindi na para sa bayan (It is no longer for the country). But for their political survival.”

‘’They treat us like criminals whose lives aren’t worthy of living anymore. We tried our best to cooperate and respect them, but this was completely out of harmony with accepted legal standards.”

Gordon is seeking another six-year term in the 24-member Senate.