Michael Yang skips Senate probe due to pharyngitis
MANILA, Philippines — Chinese businessman and former presidential economic adviser Michael Yang is skipping Friday’s hearing of the Senate blue ribbon committee as his lawyer said he was “diagnosed with pharyngitis” and advised to rest for one week.
In a letter to Senate President Vicente Sotto III and blue ribbon committee chairman Senator Richard Gordon, Yang’s lawyer, Atty. Raymond Fortun, asked that the businessman be excused from the hearing as he was advised by his doctor to rest.
Yang’s doctor has also not ruled out the possibility that he may have contracted COVID-19, Fortun said, adding that Yang is currently in isolation.
“Mr. Yang has been diagnosed with Nonexudative pharyngitis (ATP-Nonexudative) by Dr. Lim of the Davao Doctors Hospital last 24th November 2021, who could not fully rule out the possibility that Mr. Yang had contracted the COVID-19 virus. His doctor has recommended that he rest for one week in order to aid in his treatment and recovery,” Fortun’s letter reads.
“As COVID-19 has not been ruled out, Mr. Yang is in isolation and the undersigned counsel has been directed to stay away from him for the duration,” it added.
Fortun, in his letter, further said he will ensure Yang’s attendance in the next hearing “so long as his health condition improves to allow him to do so.”
“Please also be assured of Mr. Yang’s continuous respect in the Senate and the Blue Ribbon Committee, his willingness to attend the latter’s hearings in aid of legislation, and his cooperation in all matters that are within the bounds of law,” Yang’s lawyer adds in the letter.
The letter comes after Yang, through Fortun, recently filed a petition asking the Supreme Court to nullify the arrest orders and subpoena issued by the Senate against him.
Yang’s petition argued that the Senate blue ribbon committee gravely abused its discretion for several reasons and that the arrest orders, as well as the lookout bulletin order against the Chinese businessman, have no legal basis.
READ: Ex-Duterte adviser Michael Yang seeks SC help vs Senate arrest orders
He also asked the Supreme Court to stop the panel from compelling him to disclose his personal properties and business transactions.
Gordon has dubbed Yang’s petition as part of “desperate attempts” to distract the blue ribbon committee from its investigation on the government’s pandemic-related purchases.
Senators are looking into 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.
It was then disclosed that Pharmally had “borrowed money” from Yang to help the company fulfill some of the government’s orders last year.
READ: Pharmally exec’s admissions suggest Yang has deep financial ties – Gordon
But Yang insisted that it was his friends, not him, who funded Pharmally in some of its contracts with the government.
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