Drilon asks DBM: Why spend P8.68B for 'overpriced' items from company without track record?

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 27 2021 03:09 PM

MANILA - Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon on Friday questioned why several companies were able to bag billions-worth of COVID-19-related contracts from the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) despite not having sufficient capital.

A certain Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corporation was able to get P8.68-billion worth of contracts despite only having a capital of P625,000, Drilon said during a Senate Blue Ribbon committee hearing.

"How could Pharmally, a trading corporation without track record, because it was only incorporated in September 2019, bag P8.68 billion worth of government contracts?" he said.

"To PS-DBM, why close a deal with a company that has capitalization grossly below the acceptable limit to assume risks for the items to be delivered?" he said.

Drilon also alleged that the DBM did not mind buying supposedly overpriced items from the said company.

"Official records will show that it sold facemasks at a whopping P27.72, when other suppliers sold the same to PS-DBM at P13.5, P16, and P17.50 for the same period," the Senate Minority Leader said.

"It sold test kits at P1,720 when it could be bought at P925. It sold PPEs at P1,910 each when its market cost is at P945," he said.

Drilon also urged the Blue Ribbon Committee to look into why electronics companies - the EMS Component Assembly, Inc. and Cosmic Technologies, Inc - "were able to close P2-billion worth of face mask deals" with the DBM's procurement service.

The senator said the purchase of 1.32 million face shields was "also shocking" as the bulk deal was awarded to a single contractor.

"Ang nakakapagtaka ay kahit overpriced ang mga produkto ng Pharmally, bili pa rin ng bili ang PS DBM dito," he said.

"Ang nakapagtataka, binili ito ng PS-DBM sa presyong P120 bawat piraso. Malayo sa 26 pesos to P50 pesos SRP na inilabas ng DOH noong Agosto 2020," he said, noting that the agency was not even authorized to but face shields in behalf of the Health department.

"Aside from face shields, Blue Cross Biotech was able to bag a total of P432.17 million contracts from PS-DBM," he said.

As of writing, the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee has yet to call on DBM officials to respond to Drilon's queries.

More details to follow.