Dep't of Budget and Management

‘Who instructed you?’: Pharmally’s advance delivery surprises PS-DBM staff

Lian Buan
‘Who instructed you?’: Pharmally’s advance delivery surprises PS-DBM staff
Senator Risa Hontiveros says the delivery was made even before there was a request for quotation

Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corporation, the biggest winner in the Duterte government’s pandemic procurements, made an advance delivery of two million pieces of face masks that surprised a staff of the Procurement Service of the Department of Budget and Management (PS-DBM).

Senator Risa Hontiveros showed on Friday, September 17, a text message from Pharmally representative Krizle Grace Mago, telling a surprised PS-DBM personnel that her company had delivered two million face masks.

The PS-DBM personnel is Hontiveros’ source, but the personnel has already left the agency, according to the senator.

In the text from April 6, 2020, Mago asked the personnel: “Are you aware that we delivered 2 million pieces last week?”

The personnel replied: “Wait, 2 million??? I thought you only had a stock of 900,000. Uhm, is this an advance delivery?”

Mago replied: “Yes, advance.”

The personnel replied: “Yikes, who instructed you?”

Mago told the personnel she would ask her boss.

During Friday’s hearing, Mago said she only took instructions from Pharmally treasurer Mohit Dargani and director Linconn Ong.

Both Dargani and Ong said they could not recall the specifics of the advance delivery.

Pharmally and PS-DBM are under tight scrutiny because the contractor had no financial capacity to bag P10 billion in awards so far. Ong had admitted it was Michael Yang, President Rodrigo Duterte’s former economic adviser, who financed them and guaranteed for them to their Chinese suppliers.

PS-DBM, its former head Lloyd Christopher Lao, and former PS director and now-Overall Deputy Ombudsman Warren Liong have cited Duterte’s Bayanihan Law, which supposedly did not require them to ask for financial statements before awarding contracts in a negotiated procurement.

No prior request for quotation

Mago’s admission in the September 13 hearing revealed that, at another instance in March 2020, Pharmally delivered 500,000 pieces of face masks just three hours after the PS-DBM sent a request for quotation. The PS-DBM would issue the purchase order 12 days after the delivery.

But for the two million advance delivery, Hontiveros said it appeared it was made even before a request for quotation, citing her source. The RFQ is issued by the procuring entity to check how much the prospective suppliers would sell for.

“Paano ‘nyo nalaman kung magkano ibabayad sa inyo? In fact, sabi ng source namin, ‘yung ka-text ‘nyo, Ms. Mago, siya pa ay nag-alala na hindi ‘nyo makuha ‘yung expected ‘nyo na price. Bakit kayo parang hindi nag-aalala, mukhang alam ‘nyo na ie-expect ‘nyo,” said Hontiveros.

(How would you know how much you’d be paid? In fact, said our source – the one you were texting with, Ms. Mago – they were even concerned that you wouldn’t get your expected price. But you didn’t seem to be concerned, it looks like you already knew how much you were expecting.)

“With regards to the pricing, it is not under the scope of my duties and responsibilities, I only rely on the instructions of our management,” Mago said, referring to Mohit Dargani and Ong.

Ong said that, according to his records, the purchase order was dated April 15, and the delivery date was April 16.

“It looks like only you guys in Pharmally have that, because even the PS-DBM personnel was not aware, and up to now you cannot show a request for quotation,” said Hontiveros in Filipino.

In the September 13 hearing, PS-DBM’s former inspection chief said he was made to sign an inspection report even before the delivery was made. – Rappler.com

Read the other stories from the September 17, 2021, Senate blue ribbon committee hearing: 

Lian Buan

Lian Buan covers justice and corruption for Rappler. She is interested in decisions, pleadings, audits, contracts, and other documents that establish a trail. If you have leads, email lian.buan@rappler.com or tweet @lianbuan.