Accountant admits checking Pharmally's transactions without some support docs

Job Manahan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 30 2021 11:25 PM | Updated as of Oct 01 2021 02:03 AM

Senate summons Pharmally's chief accountant

MANILA – An external accountant that Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp. hired to audit their transactions admitted on Thursday to have carried out her job even in the absence of supporting documents. 

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon asked Iluminada Sebial, the certified public accountant hired by the firm, what documents they had to prove that Pharmally's cost of sales amounted to P7.092 billion.

Pressed if she ever screened the documents, Sebial said she only "checked the list" as that was her primarily role. 

When Drilon clarified if she ever asked for support documents, she said a financial statement was prepared separately by Pharmally's own accountant.

This prompted Drilon to ask her if her entries in the financial statements had "value" since she did not see the bases "because your client refused to show it."

She replied she just tried to do her job, including trying to ask for supporting papers.

"Kasi nung nag-audit ako one time lang, ngayon po na nanghingi ako ng documents, ayaw po nila magbigay," she said. 

(I was only an auditor for them once. When I asked for the documents, they did not give it.) 


Aside from this, Drilon followed up with Sebial the formal deeds of donation for the P33-million worth of goods Pharmally supposedly gave to several Philippine government entities.

She said she saw a list provided by a certain Jeff Mariano, who is supposedly an accountant at Pharmally.

"Tiningnan ko po yung list, chineck isa-isa. Tsaka po…. Nakita ko naman po okay naman," Sebial said. 

(I checked the list one by one. I saw it and it seemed okay)

However, records of supporting documents were in Pharmally's office, which she has not seen.

"Di ko matandaan po. Sabi nila, sila lang po ang may hawak, hindi naman na po nila pinakita sa akin," she said. 

(I cannot remember. They said they were in possession of those, but they never showed it to me.)

When asked who "blocked" the documents, she pointed to Mariano.

Mariano was subpoenaed by the committee. 

Blue Ribbon Committee Chairman Richard Gordon said Serial was only an "accountant in name" or "auditor in name."

"Pinapipirma lang kayo? (you were only asked to sign?)" Gordon asked. 

"May listahan silang binigay, chineck ko lang po," she replied. 

(They had a list, I just checked it.)

According to Sebial, she was paid P4,000 for the job.

Gordon said he "sympathized" with the accountant as the President does not know her, and she risked losing her license should anomalies arise because of what she did.

Drilon then asked Twinkle Dargani, Pharmally's president, if they have the said documents, as well as the entry of sales at P7.485 billion. 

Dargani said some of the documents are covered by the data privacy, bank secrecy law, and the corporation code, which the senators found hard to believe since these are supposed to be public documents they submitted to government agencies.

The Senate panel investigated Pharmally after records showed that the Department of Budget and Management's Procurement Service (PS-DBM) awarded billions-worth of contracts to the company that only had less than a million pesos in paid-up capital.

Some senators earlier said the PS-DBM bought allegedly overpriced face masks and RT-PCR test kits from the company whose executives are accused of fraudulent schemes in Taiwan, instead of procuring from local suppliers that were selling cheaper items.

– With a report from Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News 

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