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Gordon: Pharmally execs 'have no one but themselves to blame' for detention

Angelica Y. Yang - Philstar.com
Gordon: Pharmally execs 'have no one but themselves to blame' for detention
In this Sept. 14, 2018 photo, Sen. Richard "Dick" Gordon speaks as chairperson of the Philippine Red Cross to discuss preparations for Typhoon Ompong (Mangkhut) during a media briefing held at the Philippine Red Cross Tower in Mandaluyong City.
PNA / Jess Escaros Jr., cropped

MANILA, Philippines — Detained Pharmally Pharmaceutical executives Linconn Ong and Mohit Dargani "only have themselves to blame" for their continued detention, Sen. Richard Gordon, chair of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, said, saying the two have failed to submit documents related to the start-ups contracts with the Department of Budget and Management.

Gordon made the statement after Ong and Dargani wrote Senate President Vicente "Tito" Sotto III to ask him to release them. The two are in detention for contempt of the Senate.

Gordon on Thursday explained that Dargani and Ong promised, during a hearing, to find and submit documents on Pharmally's dealings with the procurement service of the DBM. 

"For lying that they will bring documents and for failure or refusal to submit such documents to the Committee, the Blue Ribbon had no other just choice but to continue their detention," Gordon said in a statement shared with reporters on Thursday. 

"They have no one but themselves to blame for their continuing detention in the same manner that only their action, their compliance with just directives can pave the way for their release," he added. 

READ: Pharmally execs Ong, Dargani transferred to Pasay City Jail

Gordon also slammed the Pharmally executives' claim that he ordered to hold them in custody to supposedly further his political ambitions. 

"There is no bigger lie. On the contrary, I was aware from the start that the hearings on Pharmally could hit many personalities and thus could animate those adversely mentioned into campaigning against me," he said.

Gordon, who is running for another term in the Senate, said he has suffered from negative campaigning, both from powerful figures and from trolls. 

Earlier, Ong's wife and Dargani's mother filed a complaint with the Commission on Human Rights over the Senate's alleged abuse of the two. The letter also claimed that Mohit's sister Twinkle, a Pharmally executive who was released from detention in January after contracting COVID-19, had been deprived of medical attention. 

The Blue Ribbon panel previously recommended the filing of charges against Ong, Dargani over the allegedly anomalous contracts with the PS-DBM.

According to a draft committee report, charges may also be considered against President Rodrigo Duterte for "attempting to diminish the roles of the Senate and Commission on Audit"; and "betraying public trust" when he appointed Michael Yang as an economic adviser in 2018.

Yang was earlier identified as Pharmally's financier and guarantor to Chinese suppliers. 

Duterte, as president, is immune from suit.

Senators said late last year that Pharmally — a start-up with a paid capital of only P625,000 — may have made "ghost deliveries" of face masks, face shields and personal protective equipment worth at least P3 billion in 2020. 

The Palace, as well as the president himself, have defended the contracts, saying supplies of PPEs were tight early in the pandemic and that the goods were delivered on time. Duterte has also played down the allegations of corruption, saying these were being brought up because of politics.

COVID-19

PHARMALLY

RICHARD GORDON

RODRIGO DUTERTE

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