MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte should stop protecting his "cronies" who benefitted from Pharmally Pharmaceuticals' anomalous deals with government, a senator said Thursday.
Duterte on Tuesday said Pharmally officials who evaded tax collection must be put behind bars. He earlier told the Senate to stop its investigation into the firm's questionable deals with government and ordered Cabinet members to refrain from appearing in Senate hearings.
The President is shifting towards "damage control," according to Senator Risa Hontiveros.
"May he take a step forward to stop defending his officials and cronies na malamang sa hindi nakinabang din sa dubious transactions. Di maglalakas ng loob ang Pharmally officials kung wala silang kasabwat sa kusina," she told ANC's Headstart.
(May he take a step forward to stop defending his officials and cronies who most likely benefitted from dubious transactions. Pharmally officials won't be encouraged if they don't have a co-conspirator.)
"He doesn’t need to tell us we can cause their imprisonment kasi talagang kapaki-pakinabang ang investigations ng Senate Blue Ribbon Committee."
(He doesn’t need to tell us we can cause their imprisonment the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee investigations are really useful.)
Aside from the allegedly anomalous pandemic supply deals with government, key officials of Pharmally did not file their income tax returns (ITR) last year and the years prior, according to information provided by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR).
Some P3.4 billion out of P7.2-billion purchases that the firm declared to the Bureau of Internal Revenue were supposedly undeclared, according to BIR consultant Mon Abrea.
Abrea noted that their summary list of purchases is P3.2 billion, while their summary list of importation is only P600 million.
The Senate investigation stemmed from the Commission on Audit's report flagging P67 billion in "deficiencies" in how supply contracts were handled. The funds were allocated to cover benefits of health workers and medical supplies.