Pharmally’s Mago retracts statement on firm’s tampering of face shield expiry dates

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 4) — Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp. official Krizle Grace Mago has retracted her previous statement that the company had swindled the government into buying expired face shields.

Wala pong expired na face shield [There are no expired face shields]. Ang instruction na rinelay ko sa [The instruction I relayed to] warehouse personnel is to repack ‘yung mga face shield namin [our face shields] into 10 pieces per packaging,” she told the House committee on good government and public accountability on Monday.

“Then nagsabi sila maraming [they said there were many] product certificates and I told them to choose just one,” Mago further explained, noting that the certificates got mixed up after the company carried out quality control procedures.

It was the Pharmally official’s first public appearance after going missing for over a week. She was eventually given protective custody by the House of Representatives. 

“I do admit that it was a pressured response. Given the amount of pressure I was under at that time and rush of motions...I was not in the proper frame of mind to think clearly,” she said of her prior admission.

Mago last appeared before the Senate on Sept. 24 when she gave her supposedly most damaging testimony to the Blue Ribbon Committee. 

She confirmed at the time claims that damaged face shields were not being disposed of, as alleged by a witness identified to be part of Pharmally’s warehouse staff.

“I was really traumatized by what happened and it really had a negative impact on my mental health po,” an emotional Mago told congressmen. She likewise insisted she was not coached to recant her previous claims.

Under pressure?

Meanwhile, Senate Blue Ribbon Committee members questioned Mago’s remarks on supposedly being subjected to pressure when she made the admission.

For his part, committee chairman Sen. Richard Gordon emphasized they delivered questions to her in “calm and very measured manners” during the hearings.

“What do you expect: she has been taken into the bosom of Pharmally and interests protective of the administration’s interest — no matter how vile. Nakipagyakapan na siya sa demonyo, makakawala pa ba iyan? [She has already embraced the devil, can she still break free?]” he told reporters.

Sen. Risa Hontiveros, meanwhile, recalled how Mago responded “forthrightly” when asked questions by the panel.

The lawmaker cited how the Pharmally official herself said the changing of production year certificates was “something I cannot deny” and responded “I believe so” when asked whether the company was swindling the government.

Kung mayroon mang nagpe-pressure sa kanya, ‘yan siguro ay isang napakamakapangyarihang pwersa para lang bawiin ang kanyang mga naunang sinabi sa amin,” said the lawmaker.

[Translation: If there indeed is someone putting pressure on her, that perhaps is a very powerful force that made her take back what she first told us.]

“It is sad that Ms. Mago feels this way. Telling the truth is a relief. The greatest pressure is to lie,” said Hontiveros. “Ngunit naniniwala akong lalabas at lalabas ang katotohanan. Sana lang, sa huli, manaig ang kanyang konsensya.

[Translation: But I believe the truth will always come out. Hopefully, in the end, her conscience will prevail.]

The House public accountability panel has repeatedly slammed senators for allegedly politicizing the probe.

Lumilitaw talaga na kung minsan naaabuso ang mga kapangyarihan [It really appears that sometimes there’s abuse of power] in conducting formal inquiries and investigation in aid of legislation,” House Deputy Speaker Rodante Marcoleta said.

The House inquiry, however, has likewise drawn criticism for supposedly being used by President Rodrigo Duterte’s allies to defend the administration’s public spending amid issues during the pandemic.

CNN Philippines correspondent Eimor Santos contributed to this report.