Senate taps Anti-Money Laundering Council to review Pharmally transactions

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 10 2021 04:49 PM

MANILA - Senate Blue Ribbon Committee chairman Richard Gordon on Friday directed the Anti-Money Laundering Council to review financial transactions of Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp, a foreign company which has secured billions-worth of government contracts despite having small capitalization.

Pharmally's 2020 financial statement showed that it only had P599,450 in capital and had no importation license but still managed to procure some 2.4 million face masks amounting to P54 million for the Department of Budget and Management's Procurement Service (PS-DBM).

"I'd like to ask the anti-money laundering council to inspect all the bank transactions that has occured with this company so we will know the money trail," Gordon said during a Senate hearing.

"There is so much billions of pesos that occured here and we don't even have a money trail. Where did this money come from?" he said.

Pharmally chairman Huang Tzu Yen earlier said that their company was only a startup that's why they did not have a lot of capital.

"We didn't feel the need to infuse a lot of capitalization," said Huang, who attended the hearing virtually while he is in Singapore.

Pharmally was able to bag contracts from the Philippine government because it had "access to supplies" at a time when global demand was high, the 31-year-old businessman told senators.

"During the pandemic what really determined the factor is the access to the supplies... so that we can get to the supplies first," he said.

"We delivered first to PS-DBM before any payments were made to us," he said.

But Gordon said that this does not give Pharmally the license to skirt Philippine procurement laws.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III backed Gordon's request for the AMLC to review Pharmally's transactions.

The Senate panel also granted Sen. Risa Hontiveros' request to subpoena from the Bureau of Immigration the "entry and exit information" of Huang and his father, Huang Wen Lie, who is wanted in Taiwan for fraud.

The Huang patriarch met with President Rodrigo Duterte in Davao City in 2017, but the "last official record of his entry is 2005," Hontiveros said.

"That creates another mystery," she said.

Senators earlier accused the PS-DBM of buying overpriced face masks and RT-PCR test kits from Pharmally, whose board members have been tagged in fraudulent activities abroad.


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