MANILA (2nd UPDATE) - An official of Pharmally Pharmaceutical who was offered protective custody by the Senate after agreeing with lawmakers that her employer "swindled" the government, can no longer be contacted, Senator Richard Gordon said Sunday.
Senator Risa Hontiveros earlier moved to place Krizle Grace Mago, head of Pharmally's Regulatory Affairs, under the Senate's protective custody. Gordon said she had to agree with this, if she wants.
"Pharmally Pharmaceutical official Krizle Mago hindi na ma-contact ng Senate Blue Ribbon Committee! Noong ika-siyam na pagdinig ay inalok natin siya ng pagkakataon na mabigyan ng proteksyon ng Senado ngunit nais niya muna raw itong pag-isipan," Gordon said on Twitter.
(Pharmally Pharmaceutical official Krizle Mago can no longer be contacted by the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee! She attended the ninth hearing where we offered her a chance to be given Senate protection but she said she wanted to think about it.)
"Isang araw matapos ang kanyang pag-amin na niloko ng kompanya ang taumbayan sa pagpapalit ng expiration dates ng face masks at face shields, 'out of reach' na si Ms. Mago."
(A day after she admitted the company had swindled the public by changing expiration dates on face masks at face shields, she became 'out of reach.')
According to Gordon's office, the committee, upon the instruction of the senator, asked for Mago's address and exact location last Friday at 5:47 p.m. for the protection they offered her.
At 7:27 p.m. of the same day, Mago told the committee "she will get back to them after the hearing."
Come Sunday, at 8:15 a.m., the committee made a follow up on Mago's location.
At 9:13 a.m., the committee tried calling her number but she can no longer be reached, Gordon's office said.
THINK THINGS THROUGH OVER THE WEEKEND
Hontiveros, in an interview with Teleradyo earlier Sunday, said she had hoped the weekend would have been enough for Mago to think things through.
"Sinagot niya sa aming committee chair na bigyan lang daw siya ng konting panahon para makapagdesisyon. I hope sapat na sapat na itong weekend para makapagdesisyon siya," she said.
(She told our committee chair to give her some time to decide. I hope the weekend was enough to make her decision.)
"Nagsimula na nga pong mangyari ang laglagan. Nung sinabi ng witness na si Ms. Mago nag-instruct ng ganun, itinuro niya si [Pharmally secretary and treasurer] Mohit Dargani," she said, referring to Mago's purported instruction to repack substandard face shields.
(They have begun to expose each other. When our witness said Ms. Mago gave the instruction, Mago in turn pointed to Mohit Dargani.)
Mago had said that as an employee, she was only following instructions from the management.
In a statement released following news about Mago, Hontiveros said she's praying for the former's safety.
She also said her office is open to extend any assistance to Mago.
"I am worried for Ms. Mago. Dalangin ko na siya'y ligtas at maging bukas na makipagtulungan para sa katotohanan at kagalingan ng mga kapwa niyang nasa healthcare work. Mananatiling bukas ang aking opisina na tulungan at bigyan proteksyon siya bilang kapwa babae," Hontiveros said.
(I am worried for Ms. Mago. I pray that she's safe and that she will be open to cooperate for the truth and welfare of her fellow healthcare workers. My open will remain open to provide help and protection to her as a woman.)
The Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, chaired by Gordon, has been investigating the alleged anomalous transaction of government with Pharmally since last year for the procurement of anti-pandemic supplies.
Senators alleged that Pharmally offered overpriced supplies and suspect that it was favored by government because of its ties with former Presidential economic adviser Michael Yang. The Duterte administration maintained that the deals were above board.
Gordon had said that public funds supposedly wasted on anomalous transactions could have been used for benefits of health workers who have been fighting COVID-19 in the frontlines.