Hontiveros hopes Senate panel report on Pharmally sponsored, adopted next week

Published May 26, 2022, 3:07 PM

by Hannah Torregoza 

Opposition Senator Risa Hontiveros on Thursday said she hopes that the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee report on the alleged anomalous procurement of Covid-19 supplies by the government with Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corporation would be sponsored and adopted before the 18th Congress adjourns next week.

Hontiveros, the only opposition lawmaker who won a reelection in the last May 9, 2022 elections said she is one of the senators eager for the Pharmally report to be sponsored.

“I hope that it will be sponsored on the floor next week and we hope that the Senate will also adopt it,” said Hontiveros in a televised interview.

She also said the investigations in the Senate will remain a priority not just for her but for the next Senate Blue Ribbon Committee.

Currently, the blue ribbon panel is headed by Sen. Richard Gordon. Gordon lost in his reelection bid in the last senatorial elections.

Hontiveros noted that for many years as an institution, the Senate has been standing up to correct any anomalies or shortcomings of the Philippine government and society.

For the 18th Congress, she noted that the Senate’s investigation into the so-called “pastillas scam”, the bribery scandal in the Bureau of Immigration, was one of the successful probes that led into the official investigation and prosecution of involved officials.

She said she hopes the findings and recommendations on the alleged crimes linked to the Philippine Offshore Gaming Operations (POGO), would still be used for further amendments of the laws.

Last February, Gordon released the partial report of the blue ribbon probe into the transfer of P42-billion Covid-19 funds from the Department of Health (DOH) to the Department of Budget and Management’s Procurement Service (DBM).

The Senate probe primarily focused on the DBM-PS’s purchase of P8.6-billion worth of face masks, face shields, and PPEs from Pharmally, a company that only had P625,000 in paid-up capital but was able to enter into a deal with the government.

The same report also stated that President Duterte betrayed public trust in connection with his actions defending the government’s multi-billion-peso contracts with Pharmally.

The committee report, however, still needs adequate signatures before it can be reported out to the plenary.