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Michael Yang asks SC to void Senate arrest orders, Immigration lookout order

Kristine Joy Patag - Philstar.com
Michael Yang asks SC to void Senate arrest orders, Immigration lookout order
Screengrab shows Michael Yang, former economic adviser to President Rodrigo Duterte, attending a Senate Blue Ribbon Committee hearing on Sept. 10, 2021.
Screengrab / Senate of the Philippines

MANILA, Philippines — Michael Yang, the former economic adviser to President Rodrigo Duterte, has run to the Supreme Court to seek the nullification of two Senate arrest orders and the lookout bulletin order against him.

Through his counsel, lawyer Raymond Fortun, Yang filed a Petition for Certiorari on Thursday and asked the SC to declare the arrest orders and the Immigration Lookout Bulletin Order against him as null and void.

He also asked the SC to order the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee to "desist from further proceeding in compelling Petitioner" to comply with a November 9 letter demanding the production of documents pertaining to his properties.

The Chinese businessman is one of the resource speakers in the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee’s hearing into government pandemic spending, that has since focused on Duterte's appointees and other individuals linked to him.

Officials of Pharmally Pharmaceutical, the firm that bagged government contracts for medical supplies, have also been brought to the hearings.

But Yang accused the Senate of acting with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction "in treating resource persons as if, nay, worse than an accused in regular court proceedings, unrightfully judging their guests as ‘lying’ at the slightest hint of inconsistency and completely ignoring any explanations made."

This is the third petition related to the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee hearings filed before the SC.

Pharmally director Linconn Ong also challenged his continuing detention before the high court, while senators questioned Duterte’s ban on the executive branch from attending the said hearings.

‘Illegal arrest orders, ILBO’

Yang argued that the arrest order dated September 7 violated his right to due process, as he should have been given at least 24 hours from receipt to explain why he should not be cited in contempt for defiance of Senate processes.

"That said Arrest Order was issued with such haste despite a clear showing that the subpoena had not been properly served upon him under the suppletory provisions of the Rules of Court reflects the grave abuse of discretion exhibited by the respondent Senate Committee, amounting to a lack or excess of jurisdiction," he said.

The second arrest order, dated September 10, was issued supposedly because Sen.Richard Gordon said in his opening statement on September 13 that Yang perpetrated lies about his links with Pharmally. Gordon chairs the blue ribbon committee, which if officially called the Senate Committee on Accountability of Public Officers and Investigations. 

Yang said he submitted a sworn statement to the panel to clarify that he was pertaining to two different Pharmally corporations when he was asked about his involvement in the companies.

But he said the panel insisted that he lied and did not lift the contempt orders.

"Petitioner concedes the power of the respondent Senate Committee to hold a witness in contempt for testifying falsely or evasively. However, when such power is exercised with such grave abuse and, despite being confronted with the truth, refuses to believe the same, certiorari lies to reverse the effects of such abusive exercise," Yang said through counsel.

Yang also said the ILBO is illegal as he is not a respondent to any criminal complaint and it violates his right to travel.

Yang also said committee sent a request letter, which he and counsel branded as a "veritable fishing expedition", asking him to submit a list of his properties and details, as well as information on donations he made to the Philippines.

MICHAEL YANG RODRIGO DUTERTE SENATE BLUE RIBBON COMMITTEE SUPREME COURT
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