Deputy Ombudsman: Bong Go did not influence government-Pharmally contracts

Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go nor “anyone powerful from Malacañang” did not ask the Procurement Service-Department of Budget and Management (PS-DBM) to award the P8.68 billion worth of pandemic-related medical supply contracts to Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp., Overall Deputy Ombudsman Warren Rex Hernandez Liong told lawmakers during a congressional hearing on Wednesday.

Prior to his appointment to the Office Ombudsman in November 2020, Liong was a director at the PS-DBM and reporting directly to then-DBM undersecretary Lloyd Christopher Lao when the government procured personal protective equipment (PPE), face masks, face shields, and other medical products from Pharmally.

Liong made the assertion when House blue-ribbon committee chairperson Michael Aglipay of Diwa party-list questioned him if Go influenced the government’s awarding of pandemic supply contracts during the resumption of the investigation of the House panel into the alleged overpriced medical and health equipment procured by the Department of Health (DoH) for the national COVID-19 response.

“There are speculations that there is a powerful person who is influencing your decisions, are you close to Sen. Bong Go?” Aglipay asked Liong.

“I am not, Mr. Chairman. In fact, I was never under him,” Liong replied.

Aglipay further asked Liong if a Palace official instructed PS-DBM to select Pharmally as the government’s supplier to which the latter denied.

“Did any government official ordered the PS-DBM to award the contract to Pharmally?” Aglipay asked.

“There was none, Mr. Chairman,” Liong answered promptly.

“Did Sen. Bong Go asked the PS-DBM to award it to Pharmally?” Aglipay asked Liong more specifically.

“He did not. No one asked us,” he replied.

Liong admitted that he has known Go when President Rodrigo Duterte was still the vice mayor of Davao City, nevertheless.

Duterte served as vice mayor for two separate terms in 1986 and 2010.

“I served as a consultant to then-Vice MayorRodrigo Duterte. Sen. Bong Go was then…I don’t know what his official designation was, but I was a consultant, but I knew him as far as that time,” Liong said.

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