Senators to Pharmally's Darganis: Come out of hiding, submit sought documents

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 22) — Senators on Friday criticized Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp. corporate secretary Mohit Dargani for his statement alleging unjust treatment amid their probe into the COVID-19 fund management controversy as he remains nowhere to be found.

Senate Blue Ribbon Committee chairman Richard Gordon in a statement noted Mohit along with his sister Twinkle Dargani, Pharmally's president, have been treated "as fairly as the circumstances warranted" along with other invited resource persons.

"As Mr. Dargani continued to refuse to give us the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, he left the committee no choice but to use its rarely-used power to cite him for contempt -- not to punish him, but to compel him to give us a complete picture of the issue being investigated," Gordon further said.

Sen. Risa Hontiveros, meanwhile, pointed out how Pharmally officials randomly disappear when supposed anomalies concerning the firm are unearthed. She cited regulatory affairs head Krizle Grace Mago's disappearance after she admitted they tampered expiry dates for medical-grade face shields, a claim which was eventually retracted.

The Senate Sergeant-at-Arms earlier told CNN Philippines that the Darganis have been "in hiding" after the committee ordered their arrest for refusing to submit subpoenaed financial documents. 

The Pharmally corporate secretary abruptly left the hearing on Oct. 19 after being told they will be detained immediately in the Senate until they answer questions on source documents for their company's financial statements.

"If Pharmally can't document the cost of goods sold, baka several billion pesos na ang tax deficiency nila. Base sa mga naihaing ebidensya sa Senado, dapat na silang i-audit ng BIR," said Hontiveros.

[Translation: If Pharmally can't document the cost of goods sold, perhaps their tax deficiency is already in billions of pesos. Based on evidence presented before the Senate, they should be audited by the BIR (Bureau of Internal Revenue).]

Hontiveros likewise reminded Mr. Dargani that all resource persons in Senate hearings are under oath, and that flip-flopping and irreconcilable statements from them are tantamount to disrespecting the committee and the Filipino people.

Dargani on Thursday accused the committee of treating them like "criminals whose lives aren't worthy of living anymore" even if they tried their best to cooperate and respect the senators.

"They want us detained because we asserted our rights, they can't get what they want to hear from us," said Dargani in a statement, adding they are being "falsely accused for political gain" in time for the polls next year.

With this, Gordon called on Dargani and his sister to come forward and submit the documents the committee asks of them.

"But while they continue to hide, people will believe they are as guilty of what they are accused of," stated the senator.