Senate orders arrest of ex-Duterte adviser, Pharmally execs; Yang ‘apologizes’ for absence
MANILA, Philippines — The Senate on Tuesday ordered the arrest of former presidential economic adviser Michael Yang and the five officials of Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp. for skipping the blue ribbon panel’s investigation despite being subpoenaed.
The arrest orders were signed by Senate President Vicente Sotto III after a Senate blue-ribbon panel cited Yang and Pharmally officials for contempt earlier in the day.
Sotto signed two arrest orders, one for Yang and another one for the five Pharmally officials.
They were “arrested and detained at the Office of the Sergeant-At-Arms until such time that [they] will appear and give [their] testimony, or otherwise [purge themselves] of that contempt.”
Yang ‘apologizes’ for absence
Through his counsel Raymond Fortun, Yang expressed “full and complete cooperation to provide information that your Honorable Committee may need for him in aid of legislation.”
Fortun penned a letter addressed to Senator Richard Gordon, chairperson of the Senate blue-ribbon panel.
As Fortun explains, Yang came to know of the previous subpoenas through newspapers.
Yang had not received any subpoena himself, his counsel said.
Rudy Quimbo, director-general of the blue-ribbon committee, said the panel tried to serve a subpoena on two different addresses, but to no avail.
“Mr. Yang apologizes for his absence at today’s hearing, but gives his assurance to be present at the next scheduled hearing of the Committee,” the letter further read.
The blue-ribbon committee is currently investigating the procurement of “overpriced” personal protective equipment, face masks, and shields made by the Department of Budget and Management-Procurement Service on behalf of the Department of Health in 2020.
Among the suppliers is Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp., which bagged government contracts worth over P8.6 billion in 2020 despite being only several months old and having just P625,000 in paid-up capital.
Yang was linked to the controversial procurement after a 2017 video showed him introducing Pharmally officials to President Rodrigo Duterte in Davao City.
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