Yang skips Senate probe due to hypertension; Gordon wants him to show up
MANILA, Philippines — Former presidential economic adviser Michael Yang was advised by his doctor to stay at home and rest due to hypertension, his counsel told senators Monday.
As the Senate blue ribbon committee opened its sixth hearing on the government’s pandemic purchases in 2020, Senator Risa Hontiveros inquired if Yang was present for the proceedings.
Blue ribbon committee director general Rudy Quimbo said Yang has yet to log in for the hearing, which is done purely through video conferencing due to the pandemic.
At this point, Yang’s counsel, lawyer Raymond Fortun, said his client was supposed to meet with him 30 minutes prior to the scheduled hearing.
“On the way, he had texted me and then subsequently called and said that his blood pressure had suddenly shot up and for that reason…he was advised by his doctor to just stay at home. Apparently because of the proceedings, his health has been affected,” Fortun said.
Senator Richard Gordon, chairman of the blue ribbon panel, however ,said Yang should show up and since the Chinese businessman has a standing arrest order from the Senate.
“He looks healthy enough. He is still under contempt. He is under arrest for contempt and he would have to appear. I think blood pressures go up and down,” the senator said.
Fortun assured the committee he will furnish them the necessary medical certificate “to support my statement today.”
Still, Gordon told Fortun that senators expect Yang to appear and participate in the hearing as senators have many questions for him.
“We’re not gonna give him a free pass, he can appear, he is not under pressure, he is in Davao where he is comfortable. He can bring his doctor if he wills and we wanna see him. That always occurs, when somebody is under investigation they come in in a wheelchair and say they cannot appear,” Gordon said.
“As far as I’m concerned, I think he (Yang) can face the music so please tell your client that we would expect to appear in the course of the hearing especially when we have questions against him,” he added.
Earlier, it was disclosed that Yang lent money to Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp. to aid the firm in fulfilling the country’s order of personal protective equipment sets (PPEs).
Pharmally was awarded government contracts worth over P8.6 billion at the height of the pandemic last year despite being only several months old and having just P625,000 in paid-up capital.
Yang was first 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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