Senate reports on Duterte, DBM and Pharmally’s “grand conspiracy”


It is impossible that Rodrigo Duterte has nothing to do with the “grand conspiracy” to defraud the government of billions of pesos during the height of the pandemic last year. He is in the center of the swindle perpetrated mainly by his Chinese businessman friend and economic adviser Michael Yang, officials of the Pharmally Pharmaceutial Corporation and previous and current officers of the Procurement Service ng Department of Budget and Management (PS-DBM).

This and more details are contained in the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee’s (BRC) initial report made public by Sen. RIchard Gordon last October 19. The Senate released the report despite Duterte’s threats, ridicule and intimidation in his effort to hamper senate hearings which started on August 18. The investigation pushed through even after Duterte threatened the senators with jail time and banned his cabinet members from attending the hearings.

Duterte allowed his friends to rob the government coffers, according to the senator. Among the anomalies the BRC unearthed are the following:

1. The anomalous transfer of ₱47.7 billion from the Department of Health to the PS-DBM last April 2020 which was without proper documentation. The PS-DBM was then headed by Christopher Lao, who served in Duterte’s offices and his campaign machinery in 2016.

2. From the DOH funds, Lao granted Pharmally at least eight contracts with a combined worth of ₱11.486 billion even as it did not have sufficient capital.

3. The PS-BDM bought personal protective equipment from Pharmally at ₱1,910 per set when there were PPEs priced at ₱945 per set at that time.

4. The PS-DBM bought tests kits from Pharmally at more than double the price at ₱1,720 each when there were test kits available at ₱925 each from other companies

5. Three Pharmally officials listed fake office and residential addresses and, due to this, were not immediately contacted and were unable to attend the first few weeks of the hearings.

6. Pharmally owner Huang Tzu Yen and financier Yang are facing swindling cases in Taiwan. In the course of the hearings, it was divulged that Yang “loaned” millions of pesos to Pharmally to pay its Chinese suppliers. This belied Yang’s claim that he only introduced the company’s officials to suppliers in China.

7. Pharmally sold expired face shields by tampering expiration dates in its boxes.

8. The PS-DBM signed for ghost deliveries.

9. Pharmally used AFP planes to transport supplies from China.

10. Pharmally did not pay taxes to the Philippines despite earning billions of pesos in profits from government contracts.

In this connection, the BRC recommended the filing of criminal cases, including perjury, against Yang. Graft, corruption and deception charges are recommended against Lao, previous PS-DBM’s officer-in-charge and current director Warren Liong. PS-DBM officials who signed for the ghost deliveries will be charged with falsification of public documents.

Criminal charges of perjury, providing false information, estafa and violations to the Bayanihan to Heal As One Act are recommended against Pharmally directors and officials.

One of Pharmally’s officials, Linconn Ong, is still under Senate custody due to his refusal to divulge how much Yang loaned to the company.

According to reports, Yang and Pharmally officials were already in hiding even before the report was published. The Senate’s sergeant-at-arms believe that they may already out of the country.

Last October 19, progressive organizations launched a protest in front of the Senate demanding that the Duterte regime be held accountable for corruption and squandering pandemic funds. Prior to this, more than 300 doctors came out with a statement to condemn the regime’s officials who are “inept, shameless and greedy.”

Senate reports on Duterte, DBM and Pharmally’s “grand conspiracy”