Evidence in Face Shield Mess Enough for Ombudsman Probe: Drilon

The Ombudsman will decide if graft charges are warranted.
Photo/s: Senate PRIB

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said Monday lawmakers uncovered enough evidence of alleged irregularities in government supply contracts for face shields and other COVID gear to merit an Ombudsman investigation.

An investigation by the Ombudsman will determine whether a case can be filed before the Sandiganbayan anti-graft court. Senate investigation can only go as far as recommending the filing of charges.

"I assume the Ombudsman, as it has done in the past, would be monitoring our hearings and I believe there is a basis to conduct an investigation in the Ombudsman," Drilon told ANC.

"I believe, as a lawyer, as a former secretary of justice, that at the very least, a probable cause has been established to warrant the formal investigation either in the fiscal's office or in the Ombudsman," he said.

The Senate Blue Ribbon Committee is investigating Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp. which bagged over P8 billion in contracts to provide medical supplies last year despite having only P625,000 in paid-up capital.

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Two of the company's officials, Linconn Ong and Mohit Dargani, have been arrested and detained at the Senate premises after being cited in contempt for failing to submit documents subpoenaed by the chamber. They will soon be transferred to a regular jail cell.

The Senate blue ribbon committee earlier said it would recommend graft charges against Pharmally executives and some government officials over the "grossly disadvantageous" COVID-19 supply contracts.

"Sa ating imbestigasyon, malinaw po ang unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference o favoritism na binigay sa Pharmally," said the lead investigator, Sen. Richard Gordon.


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