Senate panel orders Mohit Dhargani, Ong detained at Pasay City Jail

Published November 26, 2021, 11:41 PM

by Dhel Nazario

Due to alleged uncooperativeness, Pharmally executives Mohit Dhargani and Linconn Ong have been ordered transferred to the Pasay City Jail.

(Photo from Senate / MANILA BULLETIN)
The order issued by Senate Blue Ribbon Committee chairman Richard Gordon followed the adoption of a motion raised by Senate Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan to that effect.

Dhargani’s sister, Twinkle, will remain under the custody of the Office of the Sergeant-at-Arms (OSAA).

At Friday’s continuation of the inquiry into the Pharmally scandal, senators took turns exhausting all means to know the location of certain boxes that supposedly contained documents that will support the cost of sales of the audited financial statements of Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corporation that will determine if there was indeed an overpricing in the medical supplies sold to the government.

Senate Minority Leader Franklin M. Drilon was the first to ask about the documents during the Senate Blue Ribbon panel hearing on the 2020 report of the Commission on Audit (COA) on the budget utilization of the Department of Health (DOH) in the fight against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Drilon repeatedly pressed Pharmally executive Mohit Dargani if he was willing to produce the said documents.

Dargani replied that they have complied with the request as indicated in the subpoena duces tecum that was addressed to him and his sister Twinkle and mentioned he is not in possession of the aforementioned documents. He said that he left for the United States in August for his sister’s wedding and that when they returned they had already lost their office lease.

“So everything is really in boxes. I haven’t gone home, I haven’t gone to the office. I haven’t seen any of the documents, which I had turned over prior to my departure in August. I was very honest but yet I was cited in contempt and wanted arrested on that day,” Dargani explained.

“Couldn’t you have cooperated with the committee and find a way to bring those documents forward that we were asking for. Those documents are not a matter of whim. It’s a document that we that we would need to determine whether there was an overprice in the sales, whether you paid the correct taxes,” Drilon replied.

He added that the documents are not for the benefit of Senate Blue Ribbon chair Richard Gordon and that they are needed to perform their duty as senators. Drilon also explained that Dargani’s refusal to provide them the documents became the basis for citing him in contempt for unjustified refusal.

Senator Risa Hontiveros also asked two more resource persons, Pharmally accountants Aira Marie Moscoso and Jeff Mariano who both had no idea where the boxes were. Gordon later asked Iluminada Sebial who was also in previous Senate hearings, but also had no knowledge of the said documents’ location.

Meanwhile, Gordon then tasked Director General Rodolfo Noel S. Quimbo to send a team to the said Pharmally offices and trace where the missing documents went, together with Mohit and members of the Office of the Sergeant-At-Arms (OSAA).

Mohit was also given permission to confer with Ong for one hour and was told to locate the said documents immediately given the standing order of their transfer.

The next Senate hearing is scheduled on December 3, Friday.