MANILA - Pharmally's Mohit Dargani on Friday tried to justify their failed attempt to leave the Philippines for Malaysia, and said this was done for their mental health amid the ongoing Senate probe.
Mohit, who is detained in the Senate premises with his sibling, Twinkle Dargani, the firm's president, said they were able to book a flight through a male friend overseas after his "research." Their mother's health is also deteriorating, he said.
Dargani appealed to Senator Risa Hontiveros to take into consideration Twinkle's mental health. He earlier said his sister is experiencing anxiety attacks because of the hearing.
"It was our friend who paid for it but I found the companies… to look for the companies that could provide the chartered service I sent it to my friend overseas to handle it for me," Dargani said.
"I believe you (Hontiveros) are an advocate of mental health, and it pains me seeing my sister in a condition where she doesn't even know her name anymore... Seeing her go through so much... I came back to the Philippines because they are home... even though we are together, we cannot be safe," the Pharmally officer said, his voice breaking.
He added that they were in Davao City because there are "a lot" of Indian restaurants, Indian groceries, and a Hindu temple there.
They stayed in a condominium booked through Airbnb.
"We needed a doctor, I needed a doctor for my sister. It was just there that my sister was prescribed medications as well but it is not helping... my mom is just asking us to get out. It was really, doing what my mom wanted me to do and I am also doing it or my sister because I can see her mental health deteriorating.
Hontiveros said while she empathized with their plight, she questioned why Mohit had to drive from several places instead of booking the flight from Manila and not Davao City.
"Why you took the long route, more tiring route, in fact, why did you fly out... samantalang alam niyo namang may warrant of arrest?" said Hontiveros.
"We wouldn't put them through the stresses and the strains of land travel, kung gusto talaga nating lumipad out of the country, wouldn't it make sense to fly out from Manila?" she added.
Dargani claimed that a certain Gary Wong, a businessman supposedly based in Singapore, helped book their private flight to Malaysia. He only met Wong once in a bar there. The flight cost nearly P2 million, senators said.
"I asked Mr. Wong to shoulder the flight expenses," Dargani said.
Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon described this as a lie.
"Do you think that the senators are stupid? You are saying you met him once, you have no business dealings with him. and he lent you $37,000. That's an incredible story... It's either you are lying in your teeth," Drilon said.
"Look at the way you answered. A first year student would know that it is an incredible answer, you'll tell us right in our faces you only met this guy once," he added.
Before this, Dargani requested to senators to talk to his legal counsel, Atty. Donn Rico Kapunan.
Hontiveros had pointed out that in 2020, Mohit paid only P97,000 in taxes while Twinkle paid P1,000, lower than the nearly P2 million private flight, which she alleged could be higher.
The Darganis were earlier cited in contempt and were ordered detained at the Senate premises after their refusal to hand over crucial documents to the Blue Ribbon Committee.
The Senate panel is investigating Pharmally after records showed that the budget department's procurement service awarded billions of pesos worth of government contracts to the company that only had less than a million pesos in paid-up capital.