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Fast as Grab: Senators Question Pharmally's Same-Day Mask Delivery

Blue Ribbon Committee continues probe on use of pandemic funds.
by Erwin Colcol
Sep 13, 2021
Photo/s: Mika Baumeister | Unsplash
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(UPDATE) Senators on Monday questioned the delivery by Pharmally Pharmaceuticals Corp. of 500,000 pieces of surgical masks on the same day the request was issued and despite having no inventory, saying it could be an indication that it was indeed a favored company.

The Senate blue ribbon committee wants to find out how billions of pesos in supply contracts were awarded to Pharmally, which has been linked to President Rodrigo Duterte's former economic adviser, Michael Yang.

"Parang Grab delivery lang ano? Napakasimple," Sen. Richard Gordon, who leads the investigation, said in describing the "same-day delivery" of surgical masks to the procurement service of the Department of Budget and Management.

According to Krizle Mago, an administrative officer at Pharmally, they received a request for quotation from the Department of Budget and Management Procurement Service for 500,000 pieces of surgical masks on March 25, and they were able to deliver it on the same day. Each surgical mask was priced at P27.72.

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Mago said P12.97 million was paid for the deliveries on April 15.

Pharmally, Mago initially said, had enough supply to deliver 500,000 pieces of surgical masks, but upon further questioning of senators, she admitted that they didn't have the stocks and it was Linconn Ong, Pharmally's supply chain manager, who negotiated with another supplier.

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Sen. Panfilo Lacson also pointed out that while Mago was saying they collected the payment on April 15, the purchase order for the items was actually dated April 6 based on the report of the Commission on Audit.

"I'm wondering how they were able to collect the day before April 16?" Lacson asked. Mago said based on her records, the purchase order date was April 6, well before the payment was made.

Gordon questioned Mago's statements which he said showed that PS-DBM didn't even determine whether Pharmally had the capacity to deliver the items before sending a request for quotation.

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"Dineliver niyo on the same day? Paano niyo madedeliver yun kung wala kayong inventory?" he said.

"Bago bumili ang PS-DBM, dapat aalamin nila kung kayo ay may kakayahan mag-supply, kayo ay may technical capability na mag-supply. Samakatuwid hindi kayo chineck ng PS-DBM kung kayo ay may supply," he added.

Ong, upon questioning of senators, identified the name of the supplier he negotiated with to make the same-day delivery of surgical masks as TigerPhil Marketing. He maintained that Yang, Duterte's former adviser, was not involved in the transaction.

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said the 500,000 pieces of surgical masks from Pharmally could have been "ghost deliveries."

"Kaya namin pinipilit ito kasi this could be indicative of the way your company was favored by PS-DBM on the delivery of these. Now we are even having doubts as to whether this was delivered," he said.

Pharmally secured more than P8 billon worth of contracts to provide medical supplies last year. The Senate blue ribbon panel will resume their probe on the company and other related issues on Friday.

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