Senate finally releases two Pharmally execs

The Senate ordered Thursday, June 2 the release of two executives of Pharmally Pharmaceutical corporation who had been detained since December for their refusal or failure to submit corporate documents to the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee on their more than [email protected] contracts to supply Covid19 -related medical supplies to the government.

Ordered released by outgoing Senate President Vicente Sotto III were Mohit Dargani, Pharmally treasurer, and Linconn Ong, Pharmally director.

They came out of the jail this morning.

The Blue Ribbon panel had cited the two in contempt for their refusal to cooperate with the Senate committee which was then investigating the fate of the P40-billion Covid-19 appropriation that was funneled by the Department of Health to the Procurement Service, Department of Budget and Management (PS-DBM).

Sotto asked retired Major General Rene Samonte, chief of the Senate Office of the Sergeant at Arms (OSAA), to deliver his release order to Superintendent Ramil Vestra, warden of the Pasay city jail.

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon had claimed that the Pharmally contracts to deliver medical supplies to the PS-DBM were overpriced.

He also questioned why Pharmally was able to bag multi-billion-peso contracts when it had only a paid up capital of P625,000.

Senators claimed that influential persons had a hand in the awarding of the questionable contracts.

Senator Richard Gordon submitted last Tuesday his draft of the committee report on the Pharmally probe.

Only nine senators signed the draft report. The draft needs two more signatures to make it official. There are 20 committee members.

The report was incorporated into the records of the Senate before it adjourned sine die last night.

Interviewed by CNN Philippines, Ferdinand Topacio, lawyer of the two Pharmally executives, hit Senator Risa Hontiveros after she expressed willingness to file a resolution seeking another investigation in coming 19th Congress.

Topacio said he thinks the lady lawmaker is just grandstanding to make a name for herself.

Ong had been under Senate custody since September, 2021 after being cited in contempt for being evasive.

On the other hand, Dargani and his sister, Twinkle, Pharmally president, were arrested on November 14, 2021 as they tried to leave the country aboard a chartered plane at the Davao city international airport.

Both were initially kept at the OSAA but Twinkle was released under the care of her mother because she was then Covid-19 positive.

Mohit and Ong were later transferred to the Pasay City jail.