Press Release
September 2, 2021

Excerpts from ANC's Interview with Senate Minority Leader Franklin M. Drilon Headstart with Karen Davila

Q: I know you have already reacted to Malacanang's accusations, diverting it essentially...Just to end this issue, with Sec. Roque throwing it back at the Aquino administration, what's your response to that?

SFMD: We will not be distracted. Sec. Roque, you act like a troll., you know. You should be man enough to know that when a P625,000 company would be awarded supply contracts of over P8.6 billion in two months' time, there is a whiff of corruption that you should be man enough to admit merits an investigation. You cite the purchases by the DOH during the Aquino administration. That's five years ago, Sir. Number two, there was no COA report of questionable transactions. So, please, please. We will not be distracted and we will get to the bottom of this.

Q: Overall, you've discovered that it's not just P42B that was transferred?

SFMD: That's correct. On the basis of the report of the PS-DBM, P47.7B was moved over to PS-DBM from DOH. According to the COA, there was no documentation. Now that we have started to investigate, it is precisely because of this transfer and the lack of documentation that the planned plunder took place.

It is certainly something that we have to look into. This Pharmally is capitalized at P625,000. Sec. Roque says hindi baleng mababa basta naka-deliver. Sec. Roque, I would invite you to read your law because among the standards required are the legal and financial capacity of the company entering a contract with the government. That's one. Number two, this company has only P625,000, how did, in heaven's name, generate and was able to enter into contract supply agreements worth P8.67 billion?

They could respond they were just indenting; they are traders. Alright. Did the government have to enter into that kind of set up? Kailangan ba ng middle man dito? Why do you have to go do a middle man? Why not do a government-to-government transaction? Please answer that. I assume, the net income of Pharmally of over P284 million in 2020 all came from commissions. If there was a government-to-government transaction, without a middle man, that government would have saved P284 million as commission, as fees of Pharmally. This is a question that must be answered.

Q: Sec. Roque says it's just the price. Naka-deliver naman daw, it is not because of Michael Yang. For you, would you say that Pharmally was favored because Michael Yang has a relationship with the President?

SFMD: All I will say is Pharmally, on the face of the document, is favored. It does not require much intelligence to realize that if you have P625,000, common sense, but more important due diligence, would have told you that you should not award supply agreements worth P8.7B in a span of two months to this company.

Q: What accountability or liability does Lao have at this point? Who signed the contracts? Is Sec. Duque's signature on these contracts too?

SFMD: From what I understand, first, it was Sec. Duque who authorized the transfer of P42 billion. Therefore, it was because of that transfer, without MOA, that allowed Lao to do the shenanigans that it appears to have been done. I suspect that it is a part of the planned scheme from the very start to commit this grand corruption.

I would repeat, Sec. Duque committed the original sin. It was because of what he did by transferring this money, without any MOA as required by COA rules, that enabled Lao to do what he did. There is no escaping of liability. Lao admitted upon my question, that he did not exercise due diligence...

Q: Did Lao violate the law by closing contracts with Pharmally given that the incorporators have warrants of arrest against them in Taiwan...

SFMD: Due diligence and prudence would have dictated that he should not have engaged this company to supply P8.7B worth of contracts. Yet, he did not exercise due diligence given the fact that it involved P8.7B. He admitted he did not exercise due diligence...It goes down to diligence and prudence and Lao failed to exercise that.

USec. Lao is undersecretary...Why would he have the guts to approve that? Do you believe he is alone? Do you believe he has a backer?

SFMD: That's why I said this USec. Lao has an MBA, not a Masters of Business Administration but May Backer Ako. That is what we are looking for. Who is this missing link that can connect the dot? That is why we will continue to investigate it...

Q: The President ran on an anti-corruption campaign platform and, yet, with the suspicions arising with the P42B, the President...instead is saying that the Senate hearings are useless, in effect, and is actually defending Michael Yang. Why do you think the President is doing this?

Firstly, I will not delve into issues rather than the legal issues I see. Here, when the President said that I ordered Duque to transfer that, that is to provide it legal cover, because under the law and the Constitution, only the President can direct the transfer of funds from one agency to another in the executive branch. Sec. Duque cannot do that. Legally, it must be the President. That is why the President made that statement that he ordered the transfer...

But, let me point out, we have been hearing about the variants of the pandemic. Similar to these variants, the Blue Ribbon has discovered that there is a new variant called Planned Plunder. It is a virus which spreads all over bureaucracy. You hear about the pastillas scam; you hear about the BI commissioners; you hear about corruption in Customs. This corruption is like a variant. It mutates. You see it in the bureaucracy as we examine. That is why the Senate is doing this. This is part of our constitutional duty and our function of check and balance. We will not be distracted.

Q: The President is defending Michael Yang. Ang sabi niya hindi ba kailangan natin ng investment...

First, this is not an investment. Pharmally is not a manufacturer. In fact, their office no longer exists. The office is the same address as Huang Xu Yen, who is listed as the CEO, and Mohit Morgani who is listed as the treasurer.

Q: Who else is accountable other than Lao?

I said earlier Sec. Duque by his act of transferring these funds is a principal by direct participation, or principal by indispensable cooperation, because without his action this could not have happened. At this point, I can see the culpability of Sec. Duque and USec. Lao.

The next question that we should ask. Where are all these face masks and face shields? Saan po napunta ito? Saan napunta ang pera? 115 million face masks. What happened to this huge inventory? How was this distributed? How was this disposed of? This is a question that we would like to ask . To whom was this turned over?

Q: Sen. Drilon, a viewer is asking, isnt' Budget Sec. Avisado also liable for this?

SFMD: Looking at the administrative structure, the PS-DBM is only an attached agency, meaning, the secretary has no control. Typically, the relationship between an office and the secretary is that the secretary would have control over the undersecretary, but, in this case, it is only for program coordination. Sec. Avisado cannot change the decision, only the President.

Q: You mean to say Lao has the power to close contracts without Sec. Avisado signing on them?

SFMD: Yes.

Q: If Avisado had signed into these questionable contracts, that would make him accountable as well?

SFMD: Yes, very correct..

Q: Sec. Avisado's role is not yet clear. But we're talking of billions of pesos. Would silence mean consent as well?

SFMD: In fairness to him, he quit. As you and other people are suspecting, he maybe expected na puputok ito kaya umalis na siya.

Q: On overpriced face shields procured by PS-DBM from Blue Cross Biotech

SFMD: Per my records, Blue Cross Biotech Corp., on April 2, 2020, supplied 1.317 million face shields and this was sold at P120.00. This is overpriced, because, even Sen. Gordon as PRC chairman said that he was buying face shields at that time and it is nowhere as far as the pricing is concerned...They're saying there is supply tightness but, as Sen. Lacson correctly pointed out, how come there is supply tightness when we are the only country that requires face shields.

Q: Moving forward, you asked a good question, where is it now?

SFMD: We do not know the answer yet.

Q: They should not have sold that?

SFMD: That's the other thing I could not understand...These supplies are supposed to be properties of DOH. Please be prepared to show where these hundreds of millions of face masks and face shields are?

Q: Moving forward, what can prevent PS-DBM from closing questionable deals again?

SFMD: They stick to their mandate. Their mandate is to be able to purchase common use supplies at a cheaper cost because they purchase it in bulk. If they stick to that, this thing will not happen�What can be done? I do not know what else can be done because no matter what kind of system you have if the person you place there is crooked, no perfect system can prevent that. The only other way is to abolish PS-DBM, which was formed during the time of Pres. Marcos.

Q: How can that be abolished?

SFMD: Good question. Since it's a GOCC, under the law that I wrote, the GOCC Governance Act, the President can abolish PS-DBM.

Q: How would the President abolish that when, essentially, he is defending Lao?

SFMD: I'm just saying the President can abolish PS-DBM...

Q: Is it worth it for the DOJ to already start investigating?

SFMD: The Ombudsman, I would assume as they have done the past, would monitor the hearings of the Blue Ribbon and on the basis of the testimonies that they hear, they should be able to establish whether a prima facie case exists to warrant an investigation and, ultimately, the filing of the case in the Sandiganbayan.

Q: To close this, you have described it as premeditated plunder, pinagplanuhang nakawin ang pera.

SFMD: Tama po iyan, iyan ang sinasabi natin. This is premeditated plunder. Talagang plinanong nakawin ang pera ng taumbayan. We will not be distracted by side issues. We will continue to pursue this until we get to the bottom of this corruption. Like the pandemic, we must treat it.

Q: Treat it but somebody must be accountable for this...

SFMD: Yes, certainly...On the facts and the law that I see, certainly, there is a prima facie case of plunder.

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