Xavier connection: Mayor Zamora buys overpriced COVID testing machine from Omnibus cartel
San Juan City Mayor Francis Zamora is one of the local government who bought an allegedly overpriced COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test machine from controversial Omnibus Bio-Medical Systems owned by the couple Van And Evelyn Co.
Multiple Politiko sources said Omnibus sold a PCR test machine to San Juan for P2.5 million.
This is 42 percent more than the P1.75 million for each test machine paid or by the private-led Project ARK which bought directly from the equipment maker, Sansure Biotech of China, and ditched the middleman, Omnibus. The Department of Health bought its PCR machines for P4 million each from Omnibus which has raised charges of corruption.
San Juan’s purchase was facilitated by Zamora’s right hand man, John Cheng, who is a batch mate of Van Co at Xavier School.
The sources said Zamora also bought P3.5 million worth of swab test kits as part of the PCR machine package. The sources said the swab kits were normally given as rebates to buyers.
President Rodrigo Duterte has asked the National Bureau of Investigation to investigate Omnibus and the Co for profiteering from the sale test machine sand other protective gear during the pandemic.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque and other Department of Health officials have reportedly centralized all COVID-related purchases through Omnibus to control supply and jack up prices. When confronted by the President, Duque denied knowing the Cos.
Omnibus is the local distributor of Sansure but their ties got strained hen the Chinese firm frowned on the Cos practice of pricing its product two to thee times the suggest retail price.
Omnibus is based in Green Hills, San Juan. Van Co is the son of Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry vice president William Go.
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