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Senate panel to discuss Pharmally director Ong's release after wife's appeal

Angelica Y. Yang - Philstar.com
Linconn Uy Ong
Linconn Uy Ong, director Pharmally Pharmaceuticals Corp., as seen in a Sept. 13, 2021 Senate blue ribbon committee hearing aired online.
Senate PRIB / Philstar.com screenshot

MANILA, Philippines (Updated 6:37 p.m.) — Sen. Richard Gordon, who chairs the Blue Ribbon Committee, said the panel will discuss the release of Pharmally director Linconn Ong, who is currently detained at the Pasay City jail, after his wife made the appeal for humanitarian reasons.

"We found it prudent to relay your request to all members of the Blue Ribbon Committee for their comments before any decision on the matter may be made public by the Committee," Gordon told Summer Ong, Linconn's wife, in a letter dated Feb. 17. A copy of the letter was made available to members of the media on Friday.

He said this in response to Summer's letter seeking release of her husband, whom she said was "forcibly taken" by the Senate from her and their two-year old child.

"I fervently appeal to you dear Senators to please let my husband go. It is not only I who need him most now, but also our son who is suffering from dengue, who may I just mention is not doing too well and constantly looks for his father," Summer said in a letter addressed to Gordon on Feb. 14. 

"The Blue Ribbon Committee is not without compassion," Gordon said Friday evening as he announced he will be allowing Linconn to visit his son in the hospital.

"For humanitarian reasons, but without wavering on or compromising our position regarding his contempt of the Senate, I, as chairman of the committee, will allow Mr. Ong fully escorted visits to his son in hospital for a limited time per day on dates to be set by the committee, the Senate Sergeant-at-Arms, and authorities of the Pasay City Jail," he also said, adding the visits will be supervised.

 Gordon stressed that in Linconn is in custody for contempt of the Senate and that he continues to be detained because he "failed to purge himself of his defiant conduct," and was involved in the questionable Pharmally transactions. 

Partial committee report ready

Linconn, who has been detained for more than five months, should have already been released from incarceration, Summer said, citing information from her lawyers. 

"[A]s my lawyers have told me, upon the release of the full report of the Senate, my husband should have been released from his incarceration. However, Sen. Gordon has deemed it necessary to keep him imprisoned even without a crime proven or a case filed by issuing a partial Senate report," Summer said. 

She was referring to the partial committee report detailing the Blue Ribbon panel's findings on the controversial multi-billion peso scheme between Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp., and the budget department's procurement service in the purchase of pandemic supplies. 

The report recommended filing of criminal charges of Linconn Ong, among other individuals, for allegedly violating the plunder law, the revised penal code due to perjury, the revised corporation code, and the government procurement reform act.

As of February 7, the report only garnered eight signatures from its members. The report can only be tackled in the plenary if it secures signatures of the simple majority or at least 11 committee members. 

READ: Hontiveros hopes Pharmally probe will get enough signatures 

"I fear for my son’s life. I also fear for my husband constantly. This sadistic situation we have found ourselves in, we do not wish to be experienced by anyone, not even our worst enemies. I appeal to your heart as parents, as spouses, and good Senators of the Philippines to please free my husband," Summer said. 

On the matter of Linconn and Summer's two-year-old son who contracted dengue, Gordon said the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) is ready to provide medical assistance in the event that their son would require any blood donation. 

Gordon is PRC's chairman and chief executive officer. 

PHARMALLY PHARMACEUTICAL CORP

RICHARD GORDON

SENATE BLUE RIBBON PANEL

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