For opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima, President Duterte is clearly the mastermind behind the 8.6 Billion awarded contracts to Pharmally Corp., after he already admitted direct and close links both to the official who made the award and the businessman associated with Pharmally Corp.
De Lima said Duterte already admits all links to all persons involved in the anomalous transactions, including his former economic adviser, Chinese businessman Michael Yang, and ex-Budget Undersecretary Lloyd Christopher Lao.
“I do not know what else the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee can dig up on the identity of the mastermind behind the 42 billion DOH-to-DBM transfer and almost 9 billion in contracts awarded to Pharmally Corporation, after Duterte already admitted all links to all persons involved in the anomalous transactions,” she said in her Dispatch from Crame No. 1138.
“Apparently, the mastermind behind the 8.6 billion Pharmally heist is none other than Duterte himself,” she added.
De Lima further said that this could be the reason why “Duterte will do everything in his power to hide his SALN,” adding, “maybe the AMLC can enlighten us on the covered and suspicious transactions that are most likely identified in Duterte’s bank accounts since the start of the pandemic and shed light on the utterly corrupted nature of the being who is Rodrigo Duterte.”
During his taped address last Aug. 30, Duterte came to the defense of Yang and Lao after Senators mentioned the alleged ties between Yang and Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corporation, a small company whose offices can no longer be located and that has been the government’s biggest provider of medical supplies during the COVID-19 pandemic. Lao is the DBM official who awarded the deal to Pharmally as head of the DBM-PS.
Congressional hearings revealed that Pharmally has bagged over P8.68 billion worth of government contracts, including the purchase of allegedly overpriced medical supplies for COVID-19.
De Lima said Lao’s smugness and overbearing confidence in the Blue Ribbon hearings can be traced to his close ties with Duterte.
“Astoundingly, Duterte admitted that Lloyd Christopher Lao is his fraternity brother, campaign team leader, and trusted Davao lawyer. That is why Lao had no problem making the rounds in high government offices (PMS Undersecretary, HLURB CEO) before settling as DBM Undersecretary,” she said.
Likewise, De Lima also highlighted how Duterte admitted his close ties to Yang, whom she described as “the main character linked to Pharmally Corporation and who has probably received a hefty commission in the 8.6 billion DBM-PS payoff, after probably handing over the bulk of the profits to Duterte.”
“Duterte says Yang is a businessman, and it is only normal for him to acquire contracts from the government. In fact, he adds, Yang is an investor. Apparently, Duterte also admits that in fact it was his close friend Yang and his associates who have indeed bagged the 8.6 billion worth of government contracts courtesy of Duterte’s brod, DBM Usec Christopher Lao,” she noted.
After all the revelations, De Lima said both Lao and Yang connect directly to Duterte even without the need of Sen. Bong Go.
“With this whole picture gratuitously drawn for us by Duterte, the Blue Ribbon Committee now does not even need to connect Sen. Bong Go to this whole corruption network involving Duque, Christopher Lao, Michael Yang, Pharmally, and Duterte,” she said. (30)