AN EXECUTIVE of a pandemic supply company under congressional probe has taken back a statement made before the Senate that the firm delivered expired face shields to the government.
Krizle Grace Mago, regulatory affairs head of Pharmally Pharmaceuticals Corp., said in a House of Representatives committee hearing Monday that she was not in the “best frame of mind” when she gave the recanted response to the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee.
“After the Senate hearing, I realized that the delivered items had not been inspected yet and, as a result, had not been allocated and distributed to the end-users. Additionally, we did not receive any payment from the government for the partial delivery,” she told the House Committee on Good Government and Public Accountability.
She said it was a “pressured response.”
Senator Richard J. Gordon, Sr., in a Sept. 24 hearing, asked Ms. Mago if Pharmally swindled the government, to which she replied, “I believe so, Mr. Chairman. I believe that is the case.”
The question came after Senator Ana Theresia “Risa” N. Hontiveros-Baraquel showed a recorded video of a Pharmally warehouse worker who testified that the certificates for two million face shields that expired last year had been replaced with new certificates dated 2021.
Ms. Mago admitted the practice, saying it had the blessing of the company management, particularly Pharmally Treasurer Mohit Dargani, who denied the allegation.
Ms. Hontiveros said the testimony was vetted for weeks and the witness was not paid any money after the lawyer of Pharmally Director Linconn Ong said that the senator’s office bribed the warehouse worker.
Ms. Mago voluntarily placed herself under the protective custody of the House of Representatives on Friday to “help (her) speak freely without unnecessary compulsion.”
Days prior, she could not be contacted by the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee following her revelation on the face shields.
Ms. Hontiveros, in a statement Monday, hit back at Ms. Mago’s retraction and recommended a review of the Senate committee proceedings.
“Let us remember that Ms. Mago was under oath when she was speaking before the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee hearing. Questions were only directed to her and she, in fact, answered forthrightly,” the senator said.
“If there is anyone pressuring her, it must be someone powerful for her to take back what she initially told us,” Ms. Hontiveros added in Filipino.
House lawmakers, mostly allies of the current administration, have insisted that the government’s deals with Pharmally were above board. — Russell Louis C. Ku