SENATORS believe that Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corporation official Krizle Grace Mago, who previously served as a pivotal state witness in the investigation of the Blue Ribbon Committee, remains safe and still in contact with other support groups.
This, after the Senate panel lost communication with Mago despite her agreement with senators to privately reach out to them after the hearing where she dropped an explosive testimony last Friday, September 24.
“Hindi pa siya kumukontak ulit sa amin sa Senate Blue Ribbon Committee pero patuloy ‘yong aming pag-reach out sa kanya pati sa pamamagitan ng media at sa social media, syempre. Pero, ang alam namin ay in communication pa rin siya sa ilang ibang mga grupo at indibidwal,” Senator Risa Hontiveros said in a televised interview.
While Hontiveros is convinced that Mago’s life as a potential witness is not in jeopardy, she assured that her office and the committee are all set to provide its utmost protection, should the latter fully cooperate in the panel’s inquiry.
The senator also added that regardless of Mago’s whereabouts, she anticipates that Pharmally’s Regulatory Affairs head will be present in the next hearing.
“Ligtas pa rin siya hanggang sa puntong ito pero talagang gusto kong ipaalam sa kanya na concerned din ako sa kanyang kaligtasan. Bukas ang opisina ko [at] gano’n din ang Blue Ribbon Committee. Gusto kong masiguro ang kanyang kaligtasan,” she expressed.
Mago went beyond reach for almost two days since her bombshell revelation that Pharmally corporate treasurer and secretary Mohit Dargani allegedly instructed to replace the expiration date stickers of face shields from 2020 into 2021 to sustain the company’s supply.
Dargani, on the other hand, refuted the allegation and said that Mago must have been confused as she was used to getting instructions from the former.
The set of face shields in question is one of the medical items under investigation of the blue ribbon committee as such were purchased by Procurement Service of the Department of Budget and Management (PS-DBM) from Pharmally with a controversial price to supply the Department of Health (DOH) for Filipino healthcare workers.
Senators including blue ribbon committee chair Senator Richard Gordon, however, refused to accept Dargani’s reasoning and instead, offered Mago protection to fully disclose all the matters she knows which can help the panel’s investigation.
Gordon asked for Mago’s exact location at 5:47 p.m. during the ongoing session last Friday to give her protective custody but the latter said she needed enough time to decide whether or not she will serve as a witness and immediately get back to the senators.
On Sunday, September 26, the committee first tried to contact her at 8:15 a.m. and 9:13 a.m. for its second attempt but to no avail.
Afternoon came and Mago was still out of reach which prompted Gordon to reiterate his concern.
“We are concerned for her safety after what she confirmed to us during last Friday’s hearing. We offered her protection. After attempts to get her exact location so we could send our Senate Sergeant-at-Arms, she can no longer be reached,” the committee chair shared atop a “timeline” he posted via Twitter.
In a recent interview on Monday, Gordon said that Mago is “no longer in her condominium” and guessed that she is either intentionally “disregarding her phone calls” or “certain bodyguards” are holding her back to do so.
The Senate continues to delve into the firm’s P8.6 billion worth of contracts with PS-DBM where overpriced medical supplies used by healthcare workers in response to COVID-19 pandemic were procured despite being a seven -month old company with only over P600,000 paid-up capital.
Senators claimed that the anomalous transaction of Pharmally with PS-DBM might be unjustly favored by the government as it was allegedly financed by former Presidential economic adviser Michael Yang.
Yang, in defense, said that he was just a conduit of Pharmally as it was not him but his friends who was the firm’s financier or guarantor.
Likewise, President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration has been consistently denying that the government’s procurement of COVID-19 medical supplies had a “fraud, waste, and abuse” contrary to what senators of the blue ribbon committee claimed.