Ex-Duterte adviser Yang, Pharmally execs surface at Senate hearing amid controversy
MANILA, Philippines — Five Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp. executives and former presidential economic adviser Michael Yang finally surfaced at a Senate Blue Ribbon hearing on Friday after the panel cited them in contempt and ordered their arrest for flouting its subpoenas.
The committee's probe on the "deficiencies" in pandemic spending has largely centered on Pharmally which was awarded the bulk of pandemic contracts by the government worth P8.68 billion despite its recent incorporation in 2019 with a paid-up capital of just P625,000.
President Rodrigo Duterte's former economic adviser Yang has been linked by Sen. Risa Hontiveros to the controversial firm because he sits as chairman of the Full Win Group of Companies whose directors are also incorporators of Pharmally.
Yang, who also goes by Yang Hong Min, told senators through a translator that he is currently at a hotel in Davao City. He also confirmed that his current place of residence is in Forbes Park, Makati City, where the Senate's security unit tried to serve two subpoenas to him.
Officers of the Blue Ribbon Committee on Tuesday reported that a driver in that residence claimed Yang did not live there even though a parcel for a certain Nancy Yang arrived moments later.
Meanwhile, one of five Pharmally executives Morhit Dargani told senators that he is currently in Los Angeles. He said he left the Philippines for Dubai on August 18.
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Four other executives of the firm also attended the hearing Friday after being cited in contempt by senators. They are:
- Twinkle Dargani
- Krizle Grace U. Mago
- Justine Garado
- Linconn Ong
Pharmally's chairman Huang Tzu Yen, who first surfaced at the hearing on September 7, was also in attendance on Friday.
He and his father Huang Wen Lie, chairman of Pharmally International Holding Company Ltd., are wanted in Taiwan for alleged financial crimes.
The younger Huang told senators last week that he was not aware of his father's whereabouts, claiming that they have been estranged since early 2020.
Alleged 'link' between Michael Yang, Pharmally to be subpoenaed
A subpoena for a certain Rose Nono Lin was also ordered by the Blue Ribbon's chairman, Sen. Richard Gordon, upon the motion of Sen. Hontiveros.
Lin's name was one of two bared by Hontiveros last week because she, along with a certain Gerald Cruz are incorporators of Pharmally and also sit as directors of Yang's company Full Win.
Yang on Friday denied any links to Pharmally but later backtracked and confirmed that the firm previously approached him and was present at a 2017 meeting with its executives and Duterte.
He also said he had nothing to do with the awarding of contracts to Pharmally.
Yang was among the individuals whom Duterte defended in a recorded address aired last week where he again lambasted senators for probing his government's spending of pandemic funds.
He also defended former Budget Undersecretary Lloyd Christopher Lao who was officer-in-charge of the department's procurement service when it first awarded the controversial pandemic contracts to Pharmally.
"Anong masama kung magbayad ako ng utang (What's wrong if I pay my debts)?" Duterte said then.
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