Hontiveros, Pangilinan laud Sotto, Senate team for successful arrest of Darganis at Duterte turf

Published November 15, 2021, 1:21 PM

by Hannah Torregoza 

Two opposition senators on Monday lauded the Senate leadership and the Office of the Senate Sergeant-at-Arms (OSAA) for successfully arresting two of Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corporation’s top officials in Davao City which is known to be President Duterte’s “territory.”

“Good job sa OSAA sa mabilis na aksyon laban sa mga nagtapon ng pera ng COVID funds para ipambili ng Lamborghini at Ferrari (Good job on our OSAA for their quick action against people who wasted COVID-19 funds just to buy Lamborghini and Ferrari),” Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan said in a statement.

“Salamat sa agarang pagpapatupad ng aming mosyon ni Senator (Franklin) Drilon. Walang substitute sa maagap na law enforcement (Thank you for immediately implementing the motion I and Sen. Franklin Drilon filed. There’s no substitute for proactive law enforcement),” the senator added.

Pangilinan, likewise, held a “thumbs up” sign on the leadership of Senate President Vicente Sotto III for remaining steadfast in his role in keeping the Senate as an independent and co-equal branch.

He said the arrest of the Darganis—Mohit and Twinkle—should serve as a warning for those involved in big-time and brazen corruption and illegal activities especially those who think they can be protected by those in higher power.

“Sa magkapatid na Dargani, wala ring mag-sa-substitute sa inyo diyan sa pansamantalang kulungan (to the Dargani siblings, no one will substitute for you in your temporary detention cell),” Pangilinan said.

“Paparusahan ang lahat ng hindi marunong rumespeto o sa nagbabalewala sa mga kautusan at alituntunin ng Senado bilang institusyon (those who do not know how to respect and ignores the mandate of the Senate as an institution would face the penalty),” he added.

“Warning ito sa lahat ng sangkot sa pinakagarapal na komisyon de konsumisyon ng taon (this is a warning to those who are shamelessly committing corruption),” he pointed out.

Senator Risa Hontiveros also lauded the Senate leadership and the OSAA, particularly the Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Gen. Rene Samonte for successfully intercepting the Dargani siblings who were ready to flee the country on board a chartered flight going to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

She said she expects the investigation of the Senate blue ribbon committee, chaired by Sen. Richard Gordon, on the alleged overpriced and substandard COVID-19 supplies would yield more revelations about the anomalies committed by Pharmally against the people.

“Sana sagutin na ng maayos at ng totoo ng magkapatid na Dargani ang aming mga tanong, lalo na doon sa cost of goods sold para maikwenta talaga kung meron pa ba at magkano ang tax obligations nila at ng Pharmally sa ating gubyerno (I hope the Dargani siblings would finally answer correctly and truthfully all our questions especially on the cost of goods that were sold to the government so that we can calculate the tax obligations of Pharmally to our government),” Hontiveros pointed out.

“I expect that the Dargani siblings will now be more forthright in their testimonies. Wala na silang matatakbuhan. Wala na silang matataguan (They have nowhere to run. They have nowhere to hide). They cannot hide from the truth,” she reiterated.

Mohit Dargani is Pharmally’s corporate secretary and treasurer, while his sister Twinkle is the company president.

Gordon’s committee had issued an arrest order against the two and were cited in contempt after they failed to provide the necessary documents being asked by the panel.

The panel is currently looking into the Department of Budget and Management’s Procurement Service (DBM-PS) awarding of an P8.6-billion contract with Pharmally for the procurement of COVID-19 supplies despite the fact the company is undercapitalized.

Duterte had repeatedly defended the DBM-PS contract and Pharmally against the Senate panel’s probe and questioned why the Senate had to dig on the technical and financial requirements of the company.

The President retaliated by threatening to expose Gordon and other senators questioning Pharmally’s transactions with the government.