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Senate to release Pharmally execs on June 30

Paolo Romero - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — Two executives of Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp. detained by the Senate for contempt in the course of its investigation on the alleged multibillion-peso scam in the procurement of pandemic supplies will be released on June 30, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon and Sen. Richard Gordon announced yesterday.

Drilon and Gordon’s separate statements on the release of Mohit Dargani and Linconn Ong was different from the view of Senate President Vicente Sotto III, who earlier said the two can be freed on June 3 when the 18th Congress adjourns sine die.

Drilon and Gordon said the third regular session would end on June 3, but the actual closing of the 18th Congress would be on June 30.

“No. The June 3 release is not true. Dargani and Ong will be released at the end of Congress,” Gordon, who chairs the Senate Blue Ribbon committee, said.

Dargani and Ong are being held at the Pasay City jail after the Senate cited them in contempt last year over the alleged P42-billion corruption scandal involving the procurement of COVID-19 supplies by the Duterte administration.

Ong has been under Senate custody since September. Dargani was arrested at the Davao City International Airport on a chartered plane as he was about to leave the country with his sister and mother.

When asked to comment about Drilon and Gordon’s release date, Sotto said for him, Congress ends when it adjourns sine die.

“The way it looks, the Senate Blue Ribbon committee no longer functions after June 3. But if they want June 30, it is up to them. Better ask the SC (Supreme Court) for interpretation,” Sotto said.

Lawyers of Dargani and Ong said they should have been freed in February when Gordon released his partial committee report and recommended the filing of charges against Pharmally executives, some government officials and President Duterte once he steps down from office on June 30.

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