Hontiveros presented a second video clip to Senate reporters, where the man, a former warehouseman of Pharmally Pharmaceuticals Corp., debunked claims by Pharmally lawyer Ferdinand Topacio that Hontiveros, through her staff offered him money to make the claim against the controversial trading firm at the center of an ongoing  Blue Ribbon investigation.

When the man’s first video was shown by Hontiveros at the Sept 24 hearing,  he had pointed to Pharmally executive Krizle Grace Mago as the one who instructed them to alter the manufacturing dates on medical-grade face shields for distribution to government hospitals for use by doctors and nurses.

Mago confirmed the man’s claim and pointed in turn to Pharmally corporate secretary Mohit Darghani as having ordered her to give the instruction to alter.  Darghani, also testifying virtually last Sept 24, denied this.

Mago was offered protective custody, but she has since become incommunicado, sparking fears for her safety. It is unclear if she will re-emerge for the tenth Blue Ribbon hearing this Thursday.

In her press conference Thursday morning, Hontiveros issued this opening statement: “My office has no history of bribery. If track record were our basis, my office has a history of protecting, defending, and caring for  witnesses who have sought sanctuary with us.”

In the statement in Filipino, Hontiveros recalled that since 2017, in the case of Kian de los Santos, “we supported the witnesses brought to us until they were turned over to the OSAA [Office of Sergeant at Arms], until they could be brought to different institutions, to steer them away from danger. In that case, there were attempts to forcibly take the witnesses away from Senate custody.”

The senator cited as well the case of Ivy, “the Taiwanese victim of  illegal recruitment by POGO,” and related to that, the cases of Alex Chiong and Dale Ignacio, the immigration whistleblowers
in the pastillas scam.

Moreover,  Hontiveros recalled the case of Diana, who gave a face to the human trafficking in Syria, “and now, this witness who speaks on anomalous acts by Pharmally.”

In all those cases, she noted, “these were ordinary people fighting the powerful and influential; When they come to us, they bring nothing but the conviction to fight for the truth till the end.
That’s what they hold on to.”

Hontiveros pointed out that “Ms. Mago has already admitted and corroborated the testimony of our witness that they swindled government.”

Hitting back at lawyer Topacio, the senator likened it to the face shields of Pharmally: “luma, nangingitim at expired na ang script nya. Style nya,  bulok* [His script is old, and expiring].” She deplored efforts to drag in her chief legislative officer, Atty. Jaye Bekema into the fray. She said she and Bekema are, “with all courage, facing you today” to debunk the fake news.

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