Drilon denies implicating Duterte, Go in P11-B Pharmally COVID 19 supply scandal

Published October 23, 2021, 6:00 PM

by Mario Casayuran

Senate Minority Leader Franklin M. Drilon on Saturday, Oct≥ 13 said he never mentioned the names of President Duterte and Senator Christopher ‘’Bong’’ Go in the P11 billion Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corporation scandal.

Drilon stressed this during a DWIZ radio interview where Mohit Dargani, Pharmally Executive Secretary, was quoted as saying that President Duterte has nothing to do with Pharmally’s transactions with the Procurement Service, Department of Budget and Management (DBM).

Drilon had said there was ‘’premeditated plunder’’ at PS-DBM which handed out billions of pesos worth of COVID-19 medical supplies funded from the P42 billion COVID response funds of the Department of Health (DOH).

Senator Richard J. Gordon said the alleged ‘’intrinsic overpricing’’ at PS-DBM could not have happened had there be no powerful figure behind it.

Drilon said Gordon’s Blue Ribbon committee had cited Linconn Ong, Pharmally director, in contempt for refusing to state how much money Michael Yang, a former economic adviser of President Duterte, gave to Pharmally to bag PS-DBM contracts that eventually reached more than P11 billion. Pharmally had only a paid up capital of P625,000.

‘’Ang sabi ko lang ay ilabas ng Pharmally yung cost of sales para makita natin kung tama ba ang buwis at kung may overprice. (What I said was for Pharmally to show the cost of sales in order for us to determine if correct taxes were paid or there was overprice),’’ Drilon said.

Drilon said the Gordon committee also cited in contempt the Dargani siblings for refusing to submit Pharmally’s corporate documents.

Senators wanted answers from the Darganis on what was the bases of Pharmally in stating that it spent P7.2 billion in buying face masks and face shields which they eventually sold it to PS-DBM for P7.4 billion. The answer would be used in computing how much taxes Pharmally should pay, he added.

The Darganis remain in hiding after the committee directed the Senate security staff to look for them.

Drilon cited a principle that flight is guilt.

The former Senate president also cited Xuzhou company that got P2.2 billion in contract from PS-DBM but has not paid income taxes although it has been in the Philippines since 2012.

‘’it turns out it has not paid even a single peso (in income taxes). It admitted it,’’ he said, quoting Xuzhou that it did not pay taxes because it is a firm owned by the Chinese government.

Drilon, a former Justice Secretary, said Xuzhou should pay taxes.

This amounts to tax evasion, he said, adding that the PS-DBM should have withheld the taxes of its suppliers.

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