COA to examine Pharmally’s PPE purchase deals with government

MANILA, Philippines – Amid the Senate’s ongoing investigation of the government’s COVID-19 response, the Commission on Audit is taking a closer look at billions of pesos of supply contracts with Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp.

The resident auditor of the Procurement Service of the Department of Budget and Management will look anew at Pharmally’s contracts for face masks and face shields with the agency.

“Because of the news that has come out and some of these allegations, and that area would be under the resident auditor of the PS-DBM, not the Department of Health. About the issues that we’ve been seeing, I think the resident auditor has already taken note and he is also looking into these,” said COA chairperson Michael Aguinaldo on Friday.

Aguinaldo went on: “We will ask the resident auditor to come out with his own study on the matter… It’s hard to commit to an exact period. I would say, a month would be a reasonable time.”

He made the remarks during the House appropriation committee’s hearing on the COA’s proposed budget for 2022.

House deputy speaker and Cagayan de Oro 2nd District Rep. Rufus Rodriguez asked the COA chairperson if the audit body is examining Pharmally’s contracts with the government.

Despite being a relatively new company, Pharmally bagged over P 8.7 billion in contracts to supply face masks and face shields to the PS-DBM. President Duterte’s former economic adviser, Michael Yang, has been linked to Pharmally.

Earlier, the COA called out the PS-DBM for purchasing face masks and face shields at a high cost in March and April 2020.

Because it bought the protective gear at high prices, the agency had difficulty selling it to government agencies, with the face masks and face shields ending up as“slow-moving” supplies.

Aguinaldo said the COA’s audit findings on the COVID-19 supplies was “an inventory issue” of the face masks and face shields now considered as common-use supplies.

“There’s already been an audit for the year and the main observation of the resident auditor was, it was really a problem with inventory management… Maybe we could also consider the fact that this is the first time that we had a pandemic, but there should be strategies on how to dispose of the supplies and all that,” he added.

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