Sheila Crisostomo – The Philippine Star
September 26, 2021 | 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines — The protective devices against COVID-19 that the Department of Health (DOH) had given to healthcare workers (HCWs) were of good quality, an official said yesterday.
“As far as DOH is concerned, whatever we were able to deliver to all of our healthcare workers are in good condition,” Maria Rosario Vergeire (DOH Undersecretary) said this during a public briefing.
She noted the DOH does not accept supplies that are “defective” as the items are subject to quality assurance.
Vergeire made the statement after an unnamed witness revealed during the Senate Blue Ribbon committee hearing that Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp. had repacked substandard face shields for the DOH.
These face shields were distributed to HCWs. The witness, a worker of Pharmally, claimed they were made to change the stickers of expired medical-grade face shields from 2020 to this year.
According to Vergeire, face shields have parts that can deteriorate over time, such as the foam that protects the forehead of HCWs.
She maintained such foam could pulverize or have discoloration if a face shield reaches its shelf life, thus compromising quality.
Vergeire underscored that it is important that the face shields and other protective gear used by HCWs are complete and of good quality to ensure their protection.
“We have to validate if these deliveries were really (substandard) … We just leave it to our legislators and let’s wait for the results of their investigation,” She added.
Senator Richard Gordon stated that while there is enough evidence to show that there were irregularities in the deal between Pharmally and the government, senators want it solid.
Gordon, who is committee chairman, said Krizle Mago, Pharmally regulatory affairs head, admitted that the expiration dates on face shields had been altered and repacked before the delivery to the government as part of the deal with the Procurement Service of the Department of Budget and Management (PS-DBM).
“Miss Mago’s admission is huge, you can definitely use falsum in uno est falsum in omnibus or falsity in one is the falsity of all,” Gordon spoke over dwIZ.
Gordon also stated that in May 2021, P6 million worth personal protective equipment was being sold at higher price by the Blue Ribbon Committee. “They were still allowed, which manifest partiality and definitely disadvantageous to the government.”
Gordon also declined to reveal the whereabouts of Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp. director Linconn Ong who was earlier ordered arrested – for being evasive to questioning during hearings – and transferred from Senate custody to the Pasay City jail.
Michael Yang, former Duterte economic advisor, remains in Davao City. While Yang was also evasive like Ong, the “former presidential adviser is hiding in the underwear of Kuya and attorney Duterte. That’s their lawyer attorney Duterte, sorry, he’s using his attorney status, I’ll call him an attorney,” Gordon said in Filipino.
“He doesn’t behave like a President if you swear as the president to protect the nation and the Filipino people. Why do you put your friends first? It can already be seen that they are lying,” Gordon added.
Gordon also said Yang’s evasiveness during Senate Blue Ribbon committee hearings could be a basis for deportation. – Cecille Suerte Felipe