‘Out of reach’ Pharmally exec may be cited for contempt if no-show at next hearing: Lacson


Posted at Sep 27 2021 01:52 PM

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MANILA – Krizle Grace Mago, the Pharmally Pharmaceutical official who was offered protective custody by the Senate after telling lawmakers that her employer "swindled" the government, may be cited in contempt if she fails to attend the blue ribbon committee’s next hearing, Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson said. 

Mago was ‘out of reach’ as of Sunday, committee chairman Richard Gordon said, barely a day after she admitted the company had swindled the public by changing expiration dates on face masks and face shields.

“So far, walang contact talaga. Pero, may pagdinig naman sa Huwebes, at kung halimbawang hindi siya mag-a-attend, eh pwede naman siyang i-cite for contempt,” Lacson said.

(So far, we have no contact with her. But we have a hearing on Thursday, and if she doesn’t show up, we can cite her in contempt.)

“At kung mag-aattend siya at babaguhin niya yung kanyang statement at maging evasive, ganoon din, pag-uusapan ng komite kung ano dapat, kung anong hakbang ang dapat gawin namin.”

(And if she attends and changes her statement or become evasive, it’s the same—we, as a committee, will have to discuss the next steps that we should take.)

Lacson stressed, however, that the committee at this point is only bent on locating Mago and not arresting her.

“Although wala naman tayong basehan ano, wala namang arrest warrant na pinalabas laban sa kanya. Yun namang sa protective custody, that’s purely voluntary hindi naman pwedeng i-impose yun eh,” he said.

(We have no basis, we don’t have an arrest warrant against her. As for protective custody, that’s purely voluntary. We cannot impose that.)

“I guess we will have to wait for the next hearing on Thursday para mapagdesisyunan kung ano talaga yung dapat gawin ng senado. In the meantime, hanggang sa malocate lang, pero hindi naman pwedeng pilitin yan. Dahil wala namang arrest warrant at wala pa namang contempt citation na na-issue laban sa kanya.”

(I guess we will have to wait for the next hearing on Thursday to decide on what the Senate should do. In the meantime, we will look until we locate her, but we cannot enforce anything. Because there is no arrest warrant or contempt citation issued against her.)

The committee at 5:47 p.m. on Friday asked for Mago's address and exact location 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."

When the committee contacted her on Sunday, however, her number could no longer be reached.

Senator Risa Hontiveros earlier said Mago was safe despite not communicating with the chamber.

"Hindi pa siya kumo-contact ulit sa amin sa Senate Blue Ribbon Committee pero patuloy yung aming pagreach out sa kanya. Ang alam namin ay in communication pa rin siya sa ibang grupo at indibidwal," Hontiveros told ANC's Headstart.

(She has yet to contact us at the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee but we continue to reach out to her. We know she's still communicating with other groups and individuals.)

The Senate panel has been investigating the alleged anomalous transaction of government with Pharmally since last year for the procurement of 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.

--TeleRadyo, 27 September 2021