Gordon seeks arrest of QC congressional bet, five others linked to Pharmally case

The Senate Blue Ribbon committee on Thursday, Jan. 27 issued arrest warrants for six persons linked to the alleged multi-billion-peso contracts of Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corporation to deliver COVID-related medical supplies that appeared to be ‘’ghost deliveries.’’

Senator Richard J, Gordon, committee chairman, also reiterated the arrest of Christopher Lloyd Lao, chief of the Procurement Service, Department of Budget and Management (DBM), who was reported missing for the past months and is now reported hiding in Davao del Sur.

Before the committee’s 18th hearing on Thursday, Jan. 27, Gordon said he met with Senate President Vicente C. Sotto III in Batangas and told him that his committee is ready to issue a committee report but is stymied due to the failure of the Commission on Audit (COA) and Bureau of Internal Revenue to submit their reports.

Upon opening the committee hearing, Gordon said that his life is in danger after President Duterte had told him that there would be people who would go after him.

He also said that the President himself that he would make his life miserable (bababoyin).

Ordered arrested were Dennis Manalastas, Gerald Cruz, Jayson Uson, Sophia Custodio and Rose Nono Lim.

Lim is seeking a Quezon City congressional seat and wife of Linn Wei Xiong, financial manager of Pharmally who has been giving the authority to deposit and withdraw Pharmally bank accounts.

Xiong, husband of Rose Nono Lim, is in Dubai reportedly managing a Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGO) operation. Like his wife, Rose Nono Lim, Xiong was reported COVID-19 positive.

Senate Minority Leader Franklin M. Drilon suspected that there were ‘’ghost deliveries’’ of the COVID-related medical suppliers after hearing a testimony of Raymond Abrea, president and CEO of Asian Consulting Group (ACG), that there were P7.3 billion unsupported purchases and P6.3 billion estimated total tax deficiency, inclusive of penalties, surcharge and interest incurred by Pharmally and two other firms that were incorporated months before the incorporation of Pharmally.

Drilon had asked why PDS-DBM entered into a more than P10 billion contract with Pharmally which only had a P625,000 paid up capital.

He said the Department of Justice and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) should know what is happening in the committee hearings.

The Commission on Audit (COA) has not ‘’helped us any,’’ Drilon added.

He said outgoing COA Chairman Michael Aguinaldo who is retiring on February 2 had told him that COA would submit its findings by March.

The arrest warrants for the five - Uson, Custodio, Manalastas, Xiong and Cruz - would be signed by Gordon and sent to Sotto for signature.

Drilon said that these persons have shown disrespect to the committee although they have been invited and subpoenaed.

Thus, the rules of the Senate Blue Ribbon committee should be implemented and declare them in contempt.

Rose Nono Lim had informed the committee that she could not attend the hearing because she is COVID-positive and needs to see specialists for her gastrointestinal problems.

Gordon said that Lim, a resident of Forbes Par=k (Makati city) and Quezon, has six expensive vehicles, including a Cadillac Escalade worth 8.9 million, all worth P38.3 million.