BIR to investigate 45 suppliers of anti-pandemic items to PS-DBM

The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) will investigate 45 corporations that supplied P42 billion worth COVID-19 pandemic health materials to the Procurement Service, Department of Budget and Management (PS-DBM).

This was revealed by Senator Juan Edgardo ‘’Sonny’’ M. Angara, chairman of the Senate Finance committee, based on an internal memorandum and a statement relayed to him by BIR Commissioner Cesar Delay.

Dulay was present in yesterday’s Senate plenary deliberations on the proposed P5 trillion national budget.

Based on the BIR internal memorandum, Dulay directed 11 regional directors and 20 revenue district officers to investigate potential liabilities and penalties of the 45 suppliers based on their records during the taxable years of 2019 and 2020.

One of the suppliers, Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corporation, was able to bag more than P10 billion of pandemic health supplies although it had a paid up capital of P625,000 only.

Michael Yang, former Economic Adviser of President Duterte, reportedly supplied the funds to Pharmally so that it could get contracts from PS-DBM. He denied a testimony that he financially helped Pharmally.

Yesterday, President Duterte said beleaguered Pharmally officials should pay proper taxes or else go to prison for tax evasion.

Senate Minority Leader Franklin M. Drilon was not pleased because he had asked BIR to create a special task force or special team to investigate the 45.

Drilon expressed fears that nothing positive might develop should the probe be given to regional offices.

The former Justice Secretary said there is no law that would be violated should the BIR leadership create a special task force.

Through Angara, Dulay said it is really regional offices that could investigate the suppliers under their jurisdictions.

Dulay promised that he would collate the reports of these regional offices and submit a report to the Senate until December 31.

Drilon wanted all the suppliers, particularly Pharmally, to pay the correct taxes.

During the budget deliberations, it was learned from Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero that there are no customs records on two luxury cars that the Senate Blue Ribbon committee discovered were in the names of two Pharmally officials based on Land Transportation Office (LTO) records.

One of the two vehicles - 2021 Porsche 911 Turbo-S - was in the name of Pharmally Corporate Secretary and Treasurer Mohit Dargani.

The other is a Lexus RCF listed in the name of Lincoln One, Pharmally director, who is now detained at the Senate after he was cited in contempt for failing to submit corporate documents.

The other luxury cars of Pharmally officials passed through legal processes and that taxes were paid, customs officials said.

These are a 2021 Lamborghini URIS in the name of Mohit’s sister, Twinkle, Pharmally president; and Ong’s 2021 Porsche Carrera and 2019 Porsche Cayenne.