LIVE UPDATES: Senate, House hearings on pandemic deals and Pharmally

LIVE UPDATES: Senate, House hearings on pandemic deals and Pharmally


The Senate and House of Representatives are investigating the Philippine government’s questionable deals during the COVID-19 pandemic, putting President Rodrigo Duterte on the defensive as the country prepares to elect his successor in May 2022.

At the center of the controversy is the two-year-old firm Pharmally, which bagged over P8 billion ($159.62 million) worth of COVID-19 contracts.

Pharmally, which has links to Duterte’s former economic adviser Michael Yang, won these deals even if it lacked the track record and credibility to engage in big-ticket government procurement. 

Bookmark and refresh this page to watch livestreams, read news articles, and follow other updates on the Pharmally hearings at the Senate and the House of Representatives. –


No ties to Palace? Pharmally exec’s LinkedIn profile shows he worked for gov’t

Bonz Magsambol

Did Pharmally Pharmaceutical corporate secretary and treasurer Mohit Dargani ever work for Malacañang?

The Pharmally executive said no, but Senator Risa Hontiveros had “receipts” to show during the Senate blue ribbon committee hearing on Tuesday, September 21.

“I’m sorry, Mr. Dargani, Mr. Chairman. We have a screenshot of your LinkedIn page, Mr. Dargani. Here, Special Assistant at Office of the Presidential Economic Adviser. So, Mr. Chairman, you, Mr. Dargani, and Linconn Ong both worked for Michael Yang,” Hontiveros said in a mix of English and Filipino.

Read the full story here.

Lao says Pharmally able to deliver; DBM audit shows otherwise – Marcos

Aika Rey

At the Senate blue ribbon panel hearing on pandemic deals on Tuesday, September 21, resigned Department of Budget and Management (DBM) undersecretary Lloyd Christopher Lao insisted that Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corporation was capable of supplying for the Philippine government because it was “able to deliver” the items in its awarded contracts.

That was his word against the documents that Senator Imee Marcos had: citing an internal audit ordered by ex-DBM chief Wendel Avisado, the senator said government’s favored supplier had been consistently delayed in its deliveries so much so that damages have already been charged against it.

Read the full story here.

About P550 million in COVID-19 test kits bought by DOH, PS-DBM expired

Lian Buan

Confronted by documentation obtained so far by the Senate blue ribbon committee hearings, the Department of Health confirmed on Tuesday, September 21, that nearly 8,000 of the test kits it and the Procurement Service-Department of Budget and Management bought had expired.

The 7,925 expired test kits were capable of 371,794 tests, wasted because of short shelf life. They cost the government P550 million.

Read the full story here.

House panel takes cue from Duterte, targets Red Cross

Rambo Talabong

Taking their cue from President Rodrigo Duterte, the House good government and public accountability committee took aim at the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) in its hearing on Monday, September 20.

The PRC is headed by Senator Richard Gordon, once a part of the Duterte-allied “supermajority” in the Senate, who later earned the President’s ire.

As chairman of the Senate blue ribbon committee, Gordon is leading a probe into the Duterte government’s pandemic purchases worth billions of pesos. The Senate investigation is particularly looking into Pharmally, which has been linked to Duterte’s former economic adviser Michael Yang.

Read the full story here.

Michael Yang denies financing Pharmally: Not me, but my ‘friends’

Rambo Talabong

Embattled former Duterte economic adviser Michael Yang denied on Monday, September 20, that he financed Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corporation, which is the biggest winner of pandemic contracts despite having measly capital.

Yang said he was not a financier or guarantor, as Pharmally executives told senators, but a mere bridge to them.

Yang, however, was not questioned by the friendly House lawmakers who these supposed “friends” were, and neither did Yang volunteer the information.

Read the full story here.

House panel hits Senate: Pharmally probe is ‘in aid of election’

Rambo Talabong

The House good government and public accountability panel fired a shot at the Senate on Monday, September 20, calling out its probe into the alleged anomalous purchases of the Duterte government with embattled company Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corporation.

Tulad ng sabi nila, ito po ay nagiging in aid of election, not in aid of legislation (As they said, it is becoming in aid of election, not in aid of legislation),” said panel chairman DIWA Representative Michael Aglipay during its hybrid hearing on the government’s pandemic-time purchases.

Aglipay said the Senate had at least four senators who hoped to become president or vice president come 2022, who, he said, “savor every minute they can get for free TV coverage and publicity.”

Read the full story here.

Senate to probe deeper into Pharmally financials

Aika Rey

The Senate will be digging deeper into Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corporation’s transactions, as it questioned the firm’s financial capacity during the latest hearing on Friday, September 17.

Tax expert Mon Abrea pointed out that Pharmally’s 2020 audited financial statement either did not have complete details or had declarations that did not match.

The Senate blue ribbon committee has subpoenaed the bank statements, books of accounts, and loan agreements of the fairly new firm that had little capital but bagged the biggest government contracts during the pandemic.

Read the full story here.

Pharmally executives buy luxury cars after bagging pandemic contracts

Sofia Tomacruz

How might have a couple of young individuals end up affording luxury vehicles like a Porche, Lamborghini, or a Lexus?

Senate blue ribbon committee chairperson Richard Gordon asked this question on Friday, September 17, as he cast doubt on the timing of Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corporation executives’ purchase of luxury cars.

The senator cited documents sourced from the Land Transportation Office which showed the luxury cars were registered in 2020 and early 2021, or months after the firm started wining contracts from the government.

“Talagang nagpapasasa itong mga taong ito,” Gordon said.

Read the full story here.

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

Lian Buan

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.

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?”

Read the full story here.

WATCH: Gordon gets emotional as senators express support amid Duterte’s attacks

Senator Richard Gordon turned emotional after senators in the minority bloc expressed their gratitude and support for him for leading the chamber’s investigation into alleged anomalous pandemic contracts.

During the Senate blue ribbon committee’s seventh hearing on Friday, September 17, Senate Minority Leader Frank Drilon manifested his “admiration” for Gordon, who is now being attacked by President Rodrigo Duterte himself.

Opposition senators Kiko Pangilinan and Risa Hontiveros also thanked Gordon for his “zeal” in pursuing Duterte’s links to the questionable pandemic deals.

Watch the excerpt here.