Senate investigators are summoning Jeff Mariano, the chief accountant of face mask supplier Jeff Mariano, to appear next week and produce records on three main items of the company’s financial statements submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission ( SEC) as senators on Thursday delved into the Department of Health’s (DOH) budget’s 2020 audit report, including spending to contain the contagion of Covid.
This, as Senatorial Minority Leader Franklin M. Drilon requested the presence of Mariano at the next hearing, with instructions to bring documents in support of an act of P33 million.
donation that Pharmally made to unidentified persons; the 7.486 billion pesos turnover that Pharmally reported in its financial statement sent to the SEC; and foreign currency assets which generated reported foreign exchange gains of 63.2 million pula.
Drilon demanded Mariano’s presence after questioning at length the external auditor who approved Pharmally’s financial statement submitted to the SEC.
The auditor, Illuminada Sebial, told senators that she did not keep any copies of any documents and that when she started requesting these documents from Pharmally because she had been summoned by the senators, Mariano told him would have said to just say that Pharmally was keeping all the papers.
Senators Drilon and Richard J. Gordon, later joined by Sen. Panfilo Lacson, separately warned Sebial that she “could be in trouble” for signing on as an external auditor without carefully verifying the basis for state entries. financial.
Also at Thursday’s hearing, the Chairman of the Audit Commission (COA), Michael Aguinaldo, told senators that the COA had in fact started a “special audit” of the use of pandemic funds, like this. had been asked of them earlier.
Aguinaldo said he initially targeted the special audit to be done by October, but from all indications he believes it could only be done by the end of the year.
The COA’s 2020 report on “shortcomings” in the use of pandemic funds by the DOH had triggered a motu proprio investigation by the blue ribbon, after the COA reported the wholesale transfer by the DOH of 42 billion pesos of pandemic response fund to the purchasing department of the Ministry of Budget and Management (PS-DBM). The COA said this should not have been done by Health Secretary Francisco Duque III without a memorandum of understanding between DOH and PS-DBM.
PS-DBM’s negotiated contracts with Pharmally became the most notable among the PS-DBM deals, as senators said the latter failed to exercise due diligence on Pharmally’s legal, technical and financial capabilities, a start-up of 650,000 pesos which pocketed some 12 billion pesos of contracts out of the 42 billion pesos that the DOH transferred to the PS-DBM.
During the 10th hearing, two resource people were absent: Krizle Grace Mago, the Pharmally executive who admitted to senators on September 24 that she had asked storekeepers to change the dates of manufacture of the face shields that Pharmally was to provide. at DOH; and Rose Nono Lim, another Pharmally executive, whose lawyer said she was sidelined by “abdominal pain.”
Mago has been missing since Friday evening, after the Senate offered to grant him police custody.