Pharmally exec admits he applied to work as Michael Yang's aide

Bella Perez-Rubio - Philstar.com
Pharmally exec admits he applied to work as Michael Yang's aide
Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp. treasurer Mohit Dargani fields question from Sen. Risa Hontiveros at a Blue Ribbon Committee hearing on September 21, 2021.
Screen grab / Senate of the Philippines YouTube page

MANILA, Philippines — An executive of Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp. admitted to the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee on Tuesday that he applied to work as an assistant to Michael Yang when he was still serving as economic adviser to President Rodrigo Duterte. 

Pharmally treasurer and corporate secretary Mohit Dargani said he was rejected by Yang's office for the position after Sen. Risa Hontiveros bared that he previously listed his occupation in his LinkedIn profile as "Special Assistant at the Office of the Presidential Economic Adviser." 

He claimed to have "mistakenly" updated his LinkedIn profile to show that he was hired because he incorrectly "assumed" that he would be. 

Another Pharmally executive, Linconn Ong, was working for Yang as a translator at the time. 

Dargani said he asked Ong if he could work for Yang's office but was told that because he is "not a Chinese" and does not "really communicate with their [boss] Mr. Yang" that he could not work there.

"I took that [LinkedIn post] down eventually," he said. 

Screen grabs of Pharmally executive Mohit Dargani's Linkedin profile. (Released/Office of Sen. Richard Gordon) 

But Hontiveros questioned his explanation, saying that his LinkedIn post stayed "up for some time." 

"So, it's either you worked for the government and you didn't tell us the truth... or you are misrepresenting yourself here in this LinkedIn post," she added partially in Filipino.

Although they previously tried to deny their long-running ties, Pharmally's chairman Huang Tzu Yen admitted to senators that Michael Yang acted as the firm's financier and guarantor to suppliers so that they would be able to fulfill their contracts with the government. 

READ: Michael Yang, named as Pharmally backer, skips Senate hearing over blood pressure

Pharmally first came under scrutiny over its securing of the largest pandemic contracts with the Department of Budget Management's procurement service worth at least P8.68 billion. Senators have borne out that the total contracts awarded by the PS-DBM to Pharmally could actually be as high as P12 billion.

Members of the Senate also questioned how the firm could have fulfilled such large pandemic contracts when they had a paid-up capital of just P625,000 when they incorporated in 2019. 

"[It is] clear to this representation that Linconn Ong worked for the government as the translator for Michael Yang and here we have a representation of Mr. Dargani as also working for the government at the office of Michael Yang," Hontiveros said. 

Blue Ribbon committe chairman Richard Gordon advised Dargani to cooperate with the committee's probe, warning that he "may be brought to justice in a very very embarrassing situation." 

Throughout the course of the same hearing, Ong was taken into physical custody by the Senate's Seargent-At-Arms after his evasive answers and his failure to submit documents subpoenaed by the committee again drew the committee's ire. 

He was previously under house arrest because he was ill with COVID-19 when his detention was first ordered by senators. 

Gordon's office confirmed to Philstar.com that Ong will remain in the Senate until the Blue Ribbon panel resumes its hearing on reported deficiencies in pandemic spending on September 24, 2021, Friday. 






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