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Pharmally Investigation: Hontiveros Denies Bribery Allegation

'Our office has no history of bribery'
by Erwin Colcol
Sep 30, 2021
Photo/s: Risa Hontiveros/Facebook

Sen. Risa Hontiveros on Thursday denied the allegation that her office bribed a warehouseman of Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp. to give a false testimony on the substandard face shields that it supplied the government.

Hontiveros was reacting to a video presented by Ferdinand Topacio, a lawyer for Pharmally director Linconn Ong. In the clip, a warehouseman claimed that the senator's legislative officer, Jaye Bekema, bribed his co-worker into giving a false claim.

Hontiveros earlier revealed through a testimony by a Pharmally warehouseman that "soiled and substandard" face shields intended for doctors and health care workers were supplied by the firm to the government.

Pharmally is being investigated by the Senate after it bagged over P8 billion in contracts to provide medical supplies last year despite having only P625,000 in paid-up capital.

"Hindi natin hahayaan ang patuloy na pambababoy ni Atty. Topacio sa katotohanan," Hontiveros told reporters.

"Walang kasaysayan ng bribery ang opisina ko. Dahil kung kasaysayan rin lang ang pag-uusapan, ang meron kami ay history ng pagprotekta, pagtatanggol, at pagkalinga sa mga testigong lumalapit sa akin," she added.

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Bekema said she did not bribe the warehouseman, much less to give a false testimony.

"Hindi ako nanuhol, wala sa opisina ni Sen. Risa, maging si Sen. Risa, ang nanuhol. Kahit kailanman hindi kami bumibili ng testimonya. Lahat ng witness ay kusang-loob na lumalapit sa amin. Our witness for the hearing was no exception," she said.

Bekema also presented their witness during the interview with reporters. Covering his identity, the warehouseman said Hontiveros' office did not bribe him to make the testimony.

"Ako yung unang nag-email sa page ni Sen. Risa Hontiveros para humingi ng tulong.... Gusto ko lang i-share yung mga anomalya sa ginagawa namin na face shield," he added.

Pharmally officer Krizle Mago also earlier admitted in a previous hearing that Pharmally tampered with the expiration dates of the face shields they delivered to the government. She became unreachable after giving the testimony before the panel.

The Senate blue ribbon committee will resume its investigation into issues involved into the COVID-19 supplies procured by the government on Thursday afternoon.

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