Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corporation (PPC) officials Linconn Ong and Mohit Dargani, both cited in contempt by the Senate Blue Ribbon committee, were transferred on November 29 to the Pasay City Jail from the Senate detention facility.
Ong, the firm’s director and Dargani, the corporate secretary and treasurer, have repeatedly refused to turn over the financial documents of their firm despite the order by the committee chaired by Sen. Richard Gordon.
The officials of Pharmally, which bagged the biggest contract in the Department of Health’s (DOH) procurement of medical equipment against Covid-19, arrived at the Pasay City Jail shortly before 2 pm.
In the investigation into the DOH expenditures of funds for COVID-19 response, Gordon said the Committee’s work has faced obstacles to deter, delay, or otherwise side-track its course.
“Pharmally Pharmaceutical Executives Mohit and Twinkle Dargani, as well as Linconn Ong, have been evasive in answering questions, and giving uttered lies, and spewed falsities.”
Due to this, Gordon said the Committee was constrained to exercise its rarely used powers of contempt charge, ordering the incarceration of the three.
During the hearing, Gordon recalled that when asked about documents, Dargani said that they were in boxes located somewhere. Accommodating his request, he was allowed to confer with Ong to locate them.
The following day, Gordon said the Office of the Sergeant at Arms (OSAA) made arrangement to retrieve the documents. But Dargani pointed to three probable locations: office, residence, or warehouse until the trip was cancelled.
“Mr. Dargani’s and Ong’s continuous lying, continuous refusal to answer questions truthfully and forthrightly and the constant palusot have crossed the line,” said Gordon.
The Senator also accused the Darganis of hiding from the Senate, after having been cited for contempt, frustrating the OSAA from taking them in their custody.
“Because of well-meaning citizens and public officers’ tips, the Senate was able to arrest them as they were about to escape to Kuala Lumpur via a private jet hired for that specific purpose.”
The OSSA pounced on the Darganis while aboard a chartered jet at the Davao International Airport in Davao City.
“The Senate and public interest demand the truth about the overpricing of supplies, and the favoritism granted a company (Pharmally), whose capitalization was only PHP625,000 but contracts amounting to billions of pesos. If we do not get to the bottom, we will not be able to hold accountable those responsible and repetition of such a dastardly deed becomes a high probability still.”
Senate President Vicente Sotto III on Sunday signed the commitment order directing the detention of Ong and Dargani at the Pasay City Jail.
The Senate blue ribbon committee is currently investigating the transfer of PHP42 billion COVID-19 funds from the Department of Health to the Procurement Service of the Department of Budget and Management (PS-DBM).
This includes PS-DBM’s purchase of PHP8.6 billion worth of face masks, face shields, and PPEs from Pharmally.