Business

Mga p*t*ng*n*ng negosyanteng ito! Duterte orders NBI to probe Omnibus owners Van William, Evelyn Co for jacking up COVID test prices

President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to investigate Omnibus Bio-Medical Systems Inc. and its owners – Van William and Emily Co – for making massive profits out of the coronavirus pandemic.

“NBI should study the matter very, very carefully kasi alam mo — alam mo itong mga p***** i**** negosyanteng ‘to, whether it’s really an issue of humanity and their greed, ‘yung hoarding na ano you cannot — it’s part of the business ano practices which you may call not even obnoxious, it’s repulsive to the human mind when you start to think about it,” said Duterte in a late night briefing Monday.

Budget Undersecretary Lloyd Christopher Lao told the President that Omnibus invoked its exclusive distributorship agreement to block the government from buying directly from Sansure Biotech of China. The Department of Health paid P4 million for the polymerase chain reaction tests for COVID-19 bought through Omnibus while the private-led Project Ark bought the same unit from Sansure for P1.5 million.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said said the Cos could be charged with profiteering or “taking advantage of a national emergency” which was also included in one of the provisions of the Bayanihan Act.

Read more: Ginipit tayo! DBM seeks payback vs greedy Co couple of Omnibus for selling overpriced COVID tests to DOH, blackmailing

”From what we heard from at least Project Ark ‘no, this is very serious kasi nga the only source that we can get these PCR machineries and kit is from Sansure now and there was really almost an attempt to blackmail us into buying something very expensive.That’s why I thought baka mayroon talagang basis para imbestigahan po itong Co couple ng NBI (National Bureau of Investigation) for profiteering and hoarding,” Roque said.

Duterte was curious about knowing more about the racket of the Cos who cornered the bulk of testing machines, kits and other anti-COVID medical items through the endorsement of Health Secretary Francisco Duque.

“I just want to be satisfied really. Ano itong sinasabi nilang mas mura doon at itong Co na mag-asawang — spouses Co are the dealers of itong iyang nabili ninyo at mahal? Is there really a price difference there or haka-haka lang nila ‘yan?” Duterte asked Duque point-blank.

But Duque denied knowing Omnibus’ owners: “I do not know these two personalities, ito pong Co. Somebody might know about this couple.”

Van William is the president of Omnibus which holds office at Wilson Street in Green Hills. He is the son of William Co, vice president of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry and consul of Namibia. His wife Evelyn runs a child care center, Kids Go Wise.

Related story: Omnibus monopoly: Duque allows bio-medical supplier to corner all COVID-19 testing equipment in PH, jack up prices

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