An officer of Pharmally Pharmaceuticals Corp. on Friday admitted before a Senate hearing that they tampered with the expiration dates of the face shields delivered by the firm to the Department of Health.
During the continuation of the blue ribbon committee hearing, Krizle Grace Mago said it was the instruction given to her by Pharmally corporate treasurer and secretary Mohit Dargani.
“The instructions came from our management po. I received instructions from the PPC management, particularly Mohit Dargani,” she told the committee.
Dargani, for his part, denied the allegation.
"Mago is used to receiving instructions from me, but in this case it was not the case," he said.
Swindling the government?
Asked by Senator Richard Gordon if she thinks they were swindling the government, Mago said, "I believe so, Mr. Chairman."
"So maaari dahil yung ganoong klaseng quality ay substandard, maaari may mga nurse at mga doctor na nagka-COVID at namatay dahil sa substandard na dapat sana medical grade na face shield," he said.
[Because of these substandard items, our nurses and doctors who tested positive may have died in the absence of medical-grade face shields.]
He also requested security for Mago should she be willing to cooperate.
"Inamin mo na, diyan pa lang ay meron ka nang pananagutan. Pero kung ikaw ay magiging telling the whole truth, then we might be able to provide you or we will, we should be able to provide you the necessary security to protect you," he said.
[You already admitted it, so you will be held liable for that. But if you tell the whole truth, then we should be able to provide you the necessary security to protect you.]
Earlier in the hearing, Senator Risa Hontiveros presented a video of a supposed Pharmally employee who said he and others were tasked to tamper with the certificates of the face shields.
The supposed employee said they changed the year in the certificates from 2020 to 2021.
"Kahit po yupi-yupi yung mga face shield, yupi-yupi na yung mga boxes, kahit po may mga dumi, pinapa-repack pa rin po sa amin nina ma’am … although substandard po…kahit naninilaw, kahit basa-basa na po, yung iba po dun, nababasa gawa po ng tulo sa warehouse," the employee, who was not identified for security reasons, said.
(Even if the face shields are crumpled, and the boxes are dirty and are not in good shape, we still repacked it. These were substandard items. The foam attached to the face shields were turning yellow as they were soaked in rainwater.)
After repacking the face shields, the witness said they would attach a sticker on them stating that it is “Philippine Government Property.”
“Nakalagay po doon, Department of Health, so idea po namin is sa DOH po. Pero sinabi din naman po sa amin nina Ma’am na order po sya ng DOH from Pharmally,” he said.
When questioned, Mago also said she felt that she was appointed to the corporation Business Beyond Limits for “convenience.”
“I will cooperate… as mentioned earlier, I was placed as a nominee of the corporation, one-person corporation, for a convenience since they also needed my advice and expertise when it comes to different services,” she said.
“As a nominee, I actually don’t have any functions for the company,” she later added.
Mago said she was appointed by Sophia Custodio, the incorporator of the Business Beyond Limits.
“They made you, this company bid again… in the amount of P37,870,000 is that correct? That shows to me that you’re part and parcel of this gang of thieves, which has been duping the country,” Gordon said.
The senator claimed that the Pharmally executives may have urged Mago to “dirty her hands” so she would also be held liable.
“Ayaw ko sabihin nakisawsaw ka na rin o kaya nabighani ka para hindi ka nila, para siguradong hindi ka tatalon sa kanila, sinama ka nila sa negosyo. In other words, they made your hands dirty,” he said.
The senators asked Mago if she wanted to talk to them in private so she can talk freely. Mago appealed to the senators to give her time to decide on the matter.
“Please, allow me to think about it as there are a few factors I have to consider as I am an employee of Pharmally. I have to consider both sides,” she said.
Senator Risa Hontiveros moved that they place Mago under their protective custody. Gordon said Mago should agree first before he approve Hontiveros' motion.
In a message to reporters, however, Senate sergeant-at-arms Rene Samonte said Mago has stopped responding to them.
“Kino-kontak namin ‘di sumasagot. Pupuntahan sana pero ‘di binigay kung nasaan. Sumagot initially sa text sabi after the hearing kokontak ngayon wala pa,” he said.
[We’re contacting her but she’s not responding. We wanted to visit her but we don’t know where she is. She answered initially and told us that she will reach out after the hearing. There’s no news from her at the moment.]
He said that should she request it, they may visit her Thursday night.
The Senate blue ribbon committee is looking into the alleged overpriced pandemic items bought by the government last year. — KBK/RSJ, GMA News