MANILA, Philippines — Former Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp. official Krizle Grace Mago has admitted that she resigned from her post due to the pressure and “bad reputation” it carried after being dragged into the anomalous transactions involving the procurement of pandemic supplies.
During the Senate blue ribbon committee hearing on Friday, Senator Richard Gordon asked Mago if she knew where the boxes containing the company’s financial documents were, to which Mago said that she does not know due to her having left the company as early as September.
Gordon, who heads the panel, queried her further, asking about the reason why she left Pharmally. Mago said it was due to a “personal reason”.
“Ang tanong ko sa’yo ngayon, ‘yong mga boxes, pwede ba nating kuhanin ‘yan, pasamahan ka ng OSAA, kukunin natin ‘yong boxes sa opisina kung saan naroon ‘yon? Alam mo ba?” Gordon asked.
“Mr. Chairman as I said earlier po I resigned mid-September […] For personal reasons po Mr. Chairman,” Mago replied.
But Gordon did not accept Mago’s reasoning, surmising that it could be to a sense of shame about having worked for Pharmally, which has been embroiled in a deep controversy due to allegations of being a shady company, overpricing the pandemic supplies it distributed to the government.
Mago, in turn, confirmed Gordon’s guess.
“No, no, there’s no such thing as personal reasons. Could the reason be, it became so hot, buong Pilpinas pinag-uusapan ‘yan ang tinatanong, ‘Ba’t naman gano’n Krizle, why of all people, you’re such a sweet lady, mabait, soft-spoken, educated in the ways of the Lord’? Did you find it so hot for you, nakaka-feel ka na ng social pressure sa mga nagsasabing bat mo naman ginawa ‘yan?” Gordon asked again.
“Well I do admit Mr. Chair ‘yon po ‘yong isa sa mga reasons why I resigned po,” Mago said.
“You admit that? ‘Yong napaka-init, ‘yong napaka-halay na ng reputation for being with Pharmally, because Pharmally is accused of so many things. Would that be correct?” Gordon questioned.
“Yes po Mr. Chairman,” she replied.
But aside from her leaving Pharmally, senators also did not forget what Mago did after her bombshell testimony last September 24, when she admitted that the company actually swapped old certificates of face shields sold to the government, and that it actually swindled the government.
After that testimony, Mago went incommunicado, which gave way to concerns that she may have been abducted for her statements. However, a week after, Mago emerged and went to the House of Representatives to seek protection as a witness.
On the subsequent House hearings, Mago recanted what she said, adding that she succumbed to pressure which led to wrong statements before the Senate — leading Gordon to ask if she is aware that she committed perjury due to that act.
“When you went to Congress, why would you, sasabihin mo, binabawi mo ‘yong sinabi mo. Binawi mo ba talaga ‘yon or sinabihan ka lang nila na kailangan ito ang sabihin mo? Ano ba talaga? Remember that you perjured yourself when you did that ah,” Gordon said.
“Yes Mr. Chairman I am aware of the threat to perjury,” Mago answered.
“That’s not a threat, it’s a fact. Nobody’s threatening you,” Gordon added.
Mago maintained that she was not forced by anyone to recant her statements.
“I said my case at the House of Representatives and I stand by my statement po,” she explained.
“Were you forced by me or were you forced by anybody to say those words?” Gordon asked, to which Mago said no.
The discussions centered on the box containing the financial documents with senators believing that it is key to the investigation of Pharmally’s role in the pandemic supply procurement done by the Procurement Service of the Department of Budget and Management (PS-DBM).
Pharmally remains at the center of the Senate’s investigation on the deficiencies in DOH’s COVID-19 funds amounting to P67.32 billion.
This was after the revelation that over P8.6 billion of the funds transferred by DOH to the procuring entities like PS-DBM went to the company, despite it having a small paid-up capital of P625,000.
There are also accusations that Pharmally’s equipment were overpriced, like in the case of face masks sold at over P27 per piece in April 2020, when other companies offered a price of P13 per piece.
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