‘Evasive’ Yang, Pharmally exec face another arrest warrant from Senate
MANILA, Philippines — The Senate blue ribbon committee once again cited former presidential economic adviser Michael Yang and a director of Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp. for contempt, prompting the panel to move for their arrest for a second time.
Yang and Linconn Ong, a director of Pharmally, irked some senators for parrying their questions during Friday’s hearing.
Yang was asked about his relations with Pharmally, which he denied but eventually admitted that the firm sought his “assistance.”
Ong, for his part, was quizzed over how Pharmally was able to supply the government with pandemic response supplies after it bagged government deals worth over P8.6 billion when its paid-up capital was only P625,000 when it was awarded the contracts.
But senators were dissatisfied with their answers.
“This witness is clearly lying…This Senate has the power to detain as we have detained people until they tell us the truth, this witness is both evasive and refuses to answer or telling a lie and therefore he has been declared in contempt earlier, we move that the contempt order be not executed and we send our sheriffs, our security people to arrest Mr. Ong right now,” Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said.
The Senate blue ribbon last week already issued arrest orders against Yang and Ong for skipping the panel’s hearings despite being subpoenaed.
“It’s not only Mr. Ong who is being evasive. I think Mr. Yang is likewise being evasive because we cannot get an answer. And clearly they are being evasive,” Senator Panfilo Lacson, meanwhile, said
Blue ribbon committee chairman Senator Richard Gordon agreed that the resource persons in question were being evasive.
“The [first] warrant of arrest was based on the contempt for not showing up, we can now issue another warrant for being evasive and obviously the witness is being evasive and the chair will entertain any motion to cite these gentlemen in contempt for lying or evasiveness under the rules,” Gordon said.
With no objections from the members of the committee, Gordon ordered that Yang and Ong be placed under arrest.
The Senate 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 last year.
At the center of the probe is Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp.
Yang was linked to the controversial procurement after a 2017 video showed him introducing Pharmally officials to President Duterte in Davao City.
Yang likewise denied knowing one Allan Lim, who was linked to the illegal drugs trade by a former police officer in 2019.
Through his interpreter, Yang told senators that the man in the video footage with him and Duterte is one Lin Wei Xiong, and not Lim.
“Mr. Chairman, Mr. Yang is saying that the two persons that is in the video are Wan Zheng Bingqiang, and the other one is Lin Wei Xiong,” the translator said.
Sen. Risa Hontiveros asked again whether Lin is actually Allan Lim, to which Yang said that he only met a certain Lin Wei Xiong and not an Allan Lim.
When he was shown the picture of Lim’s charge sheet — which contains an entry saying that the possible true name of the person is Lin Wei Xiong, Yang said he cannot ascertain because the photo is “very blurred”.
“Mr. Chairman he is saying that the picture is very blurred, he couldn’t confirm,” Yang’s translator said.
“Ayan nakalagay ‘yong pangalan eh, Lin Wei Xiong. Oh eh di kakilala niya,” Senate President Vicente Sotto III quipped.
(The name Lin Wei Xiong is there. So he knows him.)
Former police Col. Eduardo Acierto.Acierto in 2019 released reports implicating Yang and Allan Lim as individuals involved in the drug trade. Malacanang, however, has cleared Yang.
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