Yang’s Princeton degree raises eyebrows among senators
MANILA, Philippines — Some senators on Thursday questioned former presidential adviser Michael Yang about his alleged doctorate from Princeton University, where the businessman said he obtained a “certificate.”
“Did you go to Princeton University in truth?” Gordon asked Yang during the Senate blue ribbon committee’s inquiry.
Gordon raised the question by citing an article stating that Yang’s website claimed to claim he received a Ph.D. from Princeton.
In response, Yang, through an interpreter, said Princeton University had a “program in China where they can visit and study in Princeton University.”
“Because Princeton University had a branch in Beijing, I was able to participate and they gave me the certificate,” the interpreter said, quoting Yang.
Senator Francis Pangilinan sought to clarify this, asking if the certificate Yang said he received was “proof” he got a doctorate from the said university.
“He said he received a certificate, meaning you completed a doctorate degree and were given a certificate? Is the certificate proof you completed a doctorate degree? I just want that clarified because it could be a certificate of an executive meeting, or seminar, or workshop, he went through a workshop in Princeton,” Pangilinan said.
Yang, through the interpreter, reiterated that he participated in a “program” held by Princeton’s “branch in Beijing.”
“But he is not clear what this certificate is for,” the interpreter said.
Quoting Yang, the interpreter added: “A friend introduced me, referred me, or introduced me to study in that school because Princeton University had a branch in Beijing.”
“I went there to study and participate in the program and they gave me a certificate and what is written in that certificate is not very clear, so you would have to ask Princeton.”
Gordon said his committee would reach out to Princeton to clarify the matter.
“We will write Princeton. I think we have some connections in Princeton,” he said.
Senators are investigating the government’s transactions with Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp., which was awarded over P8.6 billion worth of supply contracts for medical supplies in 2020 despite being only several months old and having just P625,000 in paid-up capital.
Yang’s name first turned up in the Senate investigation after a 2017 video showed him introducing Pharmally officials to President Rodrigo Duterte in Davao City.
During one of the hearings, Pharmally president Huang Tzu Yen admitted that his firm borrowed money from Yang to help them fulfill some of the government’s orders last year.
But Yang had insisted that his friends, not him, funded Pharmally in some of its contracts with the government.