Pharmally to challenge Ombudsman’s graft charges recommendation

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 24) — Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corporation will challenge the Office of the Ombudsman’s recommendation to file graft charges against the firm’s executives and some former and incumbent public officials over purchases of medical supplies during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Atty. Ferdinand Topacio, who represents the implicated company executives, on Thursday said they are “greatly saddened” and “surprised” by the Ombudsman’s decision against Pharmally’s Mohit Dargani, Linconn Ong, Huang Tzu Yen, and Twinkle Dargani.

This was in relation to three transactions between the government and Pharmally in 2020 for a combined 51,400 units of RT-PCR test kits, with a total cost of ₱4.165 billion.

Topacio maintained that the pieces of evidence they submitted showed “there were no overpricing, non-deliveries and ghost deliveries, or any anomalies of any kind.”

“At any rate, we are prepared to exhaust all remedies under the law to assail the indictments, and look forward to our day in court, where we can – once and for all – prove that these persons have done nothing wrong, and that these charges stemmed from a political vendetta which has ultimately backfired on its authors, and will continue to haunt these politicians,” he wrote in a statement.

According to Ombudsman Samuel Martires, respondents may still file a motion for reconsideration.

Besides Pharmally officials, the Office of the Ombudsman also said it found sufficient basis to file graft charges against former Procurement Service-Department of Budget and Management (PS-DBM) Undersecretary Lloyd Christopher Lao, as well as former PS-DBM procurement group director and now Overall Deputy Ombudsman Warren Rex Liong, among other individuals.

Both Lao and Liong have also previously denied any wrongdoing.