Arrest warrants out vs Michael Yang, Pharmally execs for ducking Senate hearings

Bella Perez-Rubio - Philstar.com
Arrest warrants out vs Michael Yang, Pharmally execs for ducking Senate hearings
In this file photo, President Rodrigo Duterte is seen with his economic adviser Michael Yang.
Presidential Photo / Toto Lozano

MANILA, Philippines (Updated 6:15 p.m.) — The Senate on Tuesday ordered the arrest of Michael Yang, former economic adviser to President Rodrigo Duterte, and executives of the controversial Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp. in order to compel them to attend the Blue Ribbon Committee’s hearing on reported “deficiencies” in pandemic spending.

In addition to Yang’s arrest warrant, Senate President Vicente Sotto III approved Blue Ribbon chairman Richard Gordon’s order to arrest several individuals from Pharmally for “unduly refusing to appear” at the panel’s hearings “despite due notices." 

They are: 

  • Mr. Mohit Dargani
  • Ms. Twinkle Dargani
  • Mr. Krizle Grace U. Mago
  • Justine Garado
  • Mr. Linconn Ong

Yang and the Pharmally officers were cited in contempt of the committee “and ordered 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.”

Senators are currently looking into Pharmally which bagged the largest pandemic contracts with the government worth a total of P8.68 billion, edging out more established firms despite being incorporated only in September 2019 with a paid-up capital of P625,000.

Present at Tuesday’s hearing was the firm’s chairman and president Huang Tzu Yen who is wanted in Taiwan for alleged financial crimes. He attended through videoconference from his home in Singapore.

He said he was not aware of the whereabouts of his father, Huang Wen Lie, Pharmally International Holding Company chairman, who is also wanted in Taiwan for alleged financial crimes.

Yang has been linked to the firm through a 2017 video of him meeting with its executives along with President Duterte in Davao City.

He has also been linked to a certain Zheng Bingqiang who is wanted for supposed involvement with alleged stock manipulation by the elder Huang.

Sen. Risa Hontiveros, who first bared the Huangs’ arrest warrants, last week told reporters that Zheng is a close business associate of Yang’s, presenting news reports which identify him as chairman of Xiamen Full Win Group of Companies. Yang, also identified Yang Hong Min, sits as chairman of the company’s local counterpart, Philippine Full Win Group of Companies.

The Blue Ribbon staff said it first attempted to serve a subpoena to Yang on September 2 ahead of Tuesday’s hearing through the Philippine Full Win Group of Companies but were told that he was no longer associated with the firm.

The staff attempted again to serve a subpoena the following day at his registered place of residence in Forbes Park, Makati but were turned away by a certain Romy Leondia, a driver who refused to accept the subpoena and said there was no Micheal Yang residing there.

“While talking with Mr. Leondia, an insurance company courier arrived with a document for a certain Nancy Yang,” Rodolfo Quimbo, director-general of Blue Ribbon Oversight Office Management, relayed to senators. “Mr. Leondia told the courier that there is no Nancy Yang in the household as well.”

Quimbo said the subpoena was eventually left with the driver.

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