The escape plane to Malaysia of a brother-sister duo accused of profiting from multi-billion-peso medical supply contracts with the government cost P1.8 million, according to a senator who was part of an investigations into the deals.
Sen. Risa Hontiveros also questioned the minimal taxes paid by siblings Mohit and Twinkle Dargani of Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp, who were arrested on a Senate contempt charge on Nov. 14 as they were about to leave Davao airport for Kuala Lumpur.
"Kung kinaya ng mga Darganis na magbayad ng ganyang halaga, mukhang hindi tama ang income tax na binayaran nila," Hontiveros said, referring to the $37,000 private jet cost.
Hontiveros said her office got a document that contained the Darganis' flight details from a source. It did not say who paid for the flight, operated by Seletar Jet Charter Pte Ltd.
Previous Senate hearings revealed that Mohit only paid P22,000 in income taxes in 2019 and P97,000 in 2020, while Twinkle only paid P1,000 in income taxes in 2020.
"Kung hindi sila ang nagbayad, ang tanong tuloy, sino ang nagbayad? The Darganis must be very important to that person who paid for it," Hontiveros added.
Hontiveros also questioned why the Dargani siblings were allowed to board the chartered flight despite an Immigration Lookout Bulletin.
"Could it be possible na nabigyan ng pastillas itong mga frontline immigration officer? Or baka naman sila ang nakatulong na ma-inform ang mga awtoridad kung kaya dapat sila pasalamatan? What is the story?" Hontiveros said.
The senator earlier led the so-called "pastillas scam," in which authorities reportedly accept bribes--money rolled in white paper like the traditional candy--in exchange for the smooth entry of Chinese nationals in the country.
The Senate is investigating Pharmally after it bagged over P8 billion in contracts to provide medical supplies last year despite having only P625,000 in paid-up capital. The chamber will resume its investigation on Friday, Nov. 26.
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