House panel says no overpricing but seeks estafa raps vs Pharmally execs

Davinci Maru, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 01 2022 03:14 PM

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MANILA—A House panel investigating the government's controversial pandemic supply deals has recommended filing charges against several officials of Pharmally Pharmaceuticals Corp.

Syndicated estafa charges should be filed against Pharmally president Huang Tzu Yen, director Linconn Ong, treasurer Mohit Dargani and other company officials Twinkle Dargani, Justine Garado and Krizle Mago, the House Committee on Good Government and Public Accountability said.

The panel also recommended the abolition of Procurement Service of the Department of Budget and Management, but maintained there was no overpricing in COVID-19 supplies.

"Personally, I would think as everybody else na the prices nga were too high but we have to follow the evidence and the rules and those followed by the DBM who set forth the rules that the price during the pandemic to be followed in the purchases are the retail price, not the wholesale price," Diwa party-list Rep. Michael Aglipay told ANC.

"Because of this rule that they are following, we have to follow that also as an investigative body and the prices of Pharmally are below the retail prices set forth by the DBM," added the panel chairperson.

The panel also spared 2 key figures in the controversy—former Budget Undersecretary Lloyd Christopher Lao and former presidential economic adviser Michael Yang, saying there was not enough evidence to go after them.

Pharmally bagged at least P11 billion worth of contracts with the DBM despite having a paid-up capital of only P625,000 in 2019, senators have said.

Some senators alleged that Pharmally was favored by the government in awarding pandemic supply contracts since last year because of its links with President Rodrigo Duterte through Yang. They also accused the firm of offering overpriced items.