Senate panel orders 2 more Pharmally execs detained for contempt

Bella Perez-Rubio - Philstar.com
Senate panel orders 2 more Pharmally execs detained for contempt
Pharmally executives Mohit Dargani and his sister Twinkle Dargani attend a Senate panel hearing on September 10, 2021.
Screen grab / Senate of the Philippines YouTube page

MANILA, Philippines — The Senate Blue Ribbon Committee on Tuesday ordered the arrest and detention of two more Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp. executives over their refusal to submit documents subpoenaed by the panel. 

Pharmally corporate secretary and treasurer Mohit Dargani, and his sister, company president Twinkle Dargani will join director Linconn Ong, who is currently detained at the Senate for refusing to tell senators how much money former presidential economic adviser Michael Yang lent the firm. 

For weeks, the siblings have resisted Senate orders to submit several source documents related to the firm's sales and purchases, citing advice from legal counsel.

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon has pressed for these documents for weeks, stressing that they are key to assessing whether there was overpricing in Pharmally's deals with the government. The firm is the government's top favored pandemic supplier, cornering deals worth billions with the Department of Budget and Management. 

This came to a head during the day's hearing after the accountant who prepared Pharmally's financial statements said that she never saw these documents and was instead shown a list and made to sign off. 

Facing a contempt charge and offered a final chance to hand over the documents, Dargani said the decision to withhold the documents is a company decision and not his own. "We are just asserting our right which was advised to us by our legal counsel." 

Drilon observed that the Dargani siblings were "obviously refusing to comply with the subpoena." 

"They have legal defenses. I assume that when we place them under detention until they comply with the orders of the committee, they will refuse and question it in court," he added.

"I move that Mr. Mohit Dargani and Twinkle Dargani be both declared in contempt for refusal to comply with the subpoena...for the production of these documents and let [Dargani] question us in court." 

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