COVID-stricken Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corporation official Linconn Ong on September 8revealed he and his family were threatened with death if he didn’t admit his links with the Chief Executive.
Appearing during the 6th hearing of the Senate Blue Ribbon committee, Ong said he has been getting death threats since he testified on alleged irregularities in the government’s purchase of billions worth of COVID-19 medical supplies.
Ong admitted before the Senate panel chaired by Sen. Richard Gordon, “Mr. Chairman, a lot of people are getting swept up with what is happening to us. I’m frightened. Mr. Chairman, I’ve been receiving text messages.”
“You and your family will be killed if you won’t admit your connection with the Chief Executive,” he read from a message on his cellphone.
Another message read, “Mr. Linconn Ong, we will give you a week. We’ll make sure you have a Merry Christmas six feet under the ground.”
The message went on to say, “The agencies are locating you and your family…’
Ong said he shut off his cellphone, afraid of what is happening.
Prior to his disclosures, Gordon asked Ong who lent Pharmally money for the purchase of COVID-19 supplies.
Ong replied by claiming that he has been receiving death threats and read text messages from his cellphone.
Earlier, Ong said former Presidential Economic Adviser Michael Yang acted as a guarantor when they were sourcing personal protective equipment (PPE) supplies from four suppliers based in China.
Yang denied any link with Pharmally and its operations. He said he had nothing to do with contracts that Pharmally had entered into but admitted that Ong had sought his help to introduce him to other Chinese businessmen who supply medical items.
Gordon said they also summoned Yang’s associate Lin Weixiong and his supposed wife Rose Nono Lin.
But the Committee Director-Gen. Rodolfo Quimbo told Gordon that the subpoena server went to the Lins’ office at Warehouse Eight of the La Fuerza Makati compound but a security guard told him the Lins were not holding office there.
Sen. Risa Hontiveros said Rose Nono Lin seems to be contemplating a run for congresswoman of Quezon City’s 5th district, since tarpaulins with her name were plastered around the area. She said Lin also has her own YouTube channel and is currently active on social media.
Meanwhile, Sen. Panfilo Lacson said despite starting up with a little over PHP600,000, he questioned how Pharmally cornered nearly PHP12 billion in contracts from the government for medical supplies to address the COVID-19 pandemic.
Lacson noted the amount is a huge chunk of the PHP42 billion that DOH transferred to PS-DBM to procure the items.
He told Pharmally Chairman Huang Tzu Yen and Director Linconn Ong to submit to the Committee official records showing how many contracts Pharmally bagged, and how much were involved. This, even as Ong cited “records” showing Pharmally got some PHP11 billion.
Citing figures from the Government Procurement Policy Board, Lacson said Pharmally was awarded at least seven contracts amounting to PHP8,625,496,016. “If we add the computations of Senators Franklin Drilon and Gordon, it could reach PHP12 billion,” he said.
Earlier, Lacson said the initial information he got indicates only 50,000 face masks would be supplied by the Sitaldas company and 100 million pieces by the Ferrer-owned EMS, though only 25 million pieces were received.
A big part of Pharmally’s contract involved PHP3.82 billion for two million sets of PPEs that Pharmally bought for PHP1,150 per set and sold at PHP1,910 for a profit of PHP760/set – or a total of at least PHP1.5 billion.
It was also found that Budget Undersec. Christopher Lloyd Lao, former head of PS-DBM failed to declare his income during the time his Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALN) increased on a government official’s salary.
Sen. Imee Marcos demanded of Lao, “Your income tax return with the BIR showed you did not declare income, zero income from 2017 to 2019. Can you please explain why you had earned income from the sale of memorial lots yet no income was reported in the tax return?”
Drilon said they can look into the bank accounts of Lao and other personalities in the DOH anomalies.