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Senator Franklin M. Drilon cited several warning signs of potential anomaly, corruption or fraud in the procurement of several medical supplies by the Budget department.

“I am worried there are so many red flags in the procurement of several medical items,” the senator said in a statement on Friday. “These warning signs indicate possible anomaly, corruption or fraud.”

“Red flags are all over. We should not ignore these red flags,” he added.

Mr. Drilon cited as anomalous the choice of contractors of questionable qualifications with one contractor earning P284.9 million in 2020, from zero income in 2019, supposedly after bagging P8.68 billion worth of government contracts.

“Indeed, business is booming for these contractors,” he said. He added that the Budget department appears to have given them “the sure ticket to wealth.”

The opposition senator questioned why Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp. bagged P8.68 billion worth of contracts. Incorporated only in September 2019, the company has paid-up capital of only P625,000, “obviously insufficient to assume huge risk for the delivery of P8.68 billion worth of procurement.”

Senator Panfilo M. Lacson during Friday’s hearing asked former Budget Undersecretary Lloyd Christopher Lao what type of due diligence was done before the agency awarded billions of funds to Pharmally.

Mr. Lao said they did not have a copy of Pharmally’s general information sheet so they did not have an idea about bogus addresses that the company allegedly used in its registration documents.

Drilon said that contrary to the law’s clear requirement that negotiated procurement can only be entered into with people who have the technical, legal and financial capabilities, the government entered into contracts with companies of questionable qualifications. — A.N.O. Tan

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