NBI helping Senate panel locate Mago

Paolo Romero - The Philippine Star
NBI helping Senate panel locate Mago
STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines — The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and nuns are now helping in efforts to locate Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp. official Krizle Grace Mago, Sen. Richard Gordon said yesterday.

The Senate feared Mago may be in danger after she admitted that her company tampered with expiry dates and sold substandard face shields to the government.

Gordon, who chairs the Senate Blue Ribbon committee probing the alleged procurement anomalies, said the chamber wrote to the NBI to help look for Mago, who was starting to give information but “then suddenly lights out.”

“We’re dealing with big people here. I hope she’s safe… I’ve also enlisted the help of the Sisters of St. Paul (of Chartres). They’ve been trying to reach her as well. The nuns are very concerned. I’m sure they are praying for her, trying to reach her for her own good,” Gordon said, noting they are verifying reports that Mago is no longer in her condominium but in a safe house under armed guard.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra confirmed yesterday that the NBI is working closely with authorities to locate Mago.

“The NBI has directed its intelligence and regional service personnel to help in locating Krizle Mago of Pharmally,” Guevarra said.

The Senate offered Mago protection during Friday’s hearing, but she asked for time to think about it because of the tight situation she was in, but did not elaborate.

Gordon did not mention names as to who may be the source of possible threat to Mago and also to Linconn Ong – one of the owners of Pharmally – but repeatedly made reference to the company’s reported connections to President Duterte and his former economic adviser Michael Yang.

Ong remains detained at the Senate since last week after being cited for contempt for lying and being evasive in the inquiry. He was the first to link Yang to Pharmally’s transactions with the Procurement Service of the Department of Budget and Management (PS-DBM).

Deportation, kangaroo court

Gordon said the committee is also looking into possible offenses that may warrant the deportation of Yang, who reportedly financed some of Pharmally’s procurement of supplies.

Even if Yang is already a Filipino citizen, he said such citizenship is considered a privilege and can be revoked for simple infractions.

The lawmaker said Yang’s status in the country, particularly the visa he holds, remains unclear though the businessman has been in the country for nearly 20 years, doing business mostly in Davao City.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III and Gordon also lashed out at lawyer Ferdinand Topacio, who called the chamber a “kangaroo court” in representing his client Ong yesterday.

Topacio said all questions for his client should now be directed to him.

“Never threaten or call the Senate names! What do they expect by threatening the Senate? That we roll over and die? Will never happen,” Sotto said. – Robertzon Ramirez

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