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Opinion

Nothing to do with them?

THAT DOES IT - Korina Sanchez - The Freeman

Huang Tzu Yen, president of Pharmally Pharmaceuticals Corp., admitted they borrowed money from Michael Yang, the Palace’s former economic adviser, for them to be able to fulfill the contract obtained from the government to supply face masks and RT-PCR testing kits last year. The said company secured a billion-peso contract even though it did not have enough capital. They said they would pay Yang when the government paid them. Admittedly they were ambitious and greedy with the massive contract they were awarded.

This is contrary to Yang's statement that he does not know Pharmally and only heard about them in the news. He also had nothing to do with the operation of the company and the contract obtained from the government. He did acknowledge Pharmally approached him for assistance but did not elaborate. This was refuted by Lincoln Ong, also a Pharmally official. Ong claims Yang introduced Pharmally to suppliers in China and served as a guarantor that the company would pay them. So Yang lent money to Pharmally, introduced the company to suppliers, and guaranteed the transactions, yet he had nothing to do with them?

The Senate has issued an arrest warrant for Yang and Ong for giving evasive answers to their questions, and for lying under oath. Lloyd Christopher Lao, the former head of the Department of Budget and Management's Procurement Service, also has a lot to explain why Pharmally was given the big contract when they had no adequate capital and had to borrow from Yang. The process for awarding the contract to Pharmally seems to have been expedited and due diligence not performed. Anyone can bid or ask for a huge contract from the government sans adequate capital. All you need is a Michael Yang.

Turns out Huang and his father have outstanding arrest warrants in Taiwan for "breach of trust and securities fraud". Senators criticized Lao for not doing due diligence on this company and its officers and for being arrogant enough to say he complied with all the requirements. It turns out all of Michael Yang’s actions were simply allowed and given favor. This is how influential Yang is with this administration.

President Duterte continues to staunchly defend Yang, Pharmally, and Lao, visibly incensed at his friends having to be investigated like this. The senators who are leading the investigation are now being threatened by Duterte with his investigations and announced he will terminate transactions with the Philippine Red Cross if they do not submit to an audit by the COA. The COA reiterates they do not have the authority to do this since the PRC is a non-government organization. The Filipino people stand to lose the most should that happen but Duterte doesn't seem to care. Instead of allowing the investigations to proceed if his friends have nothing to hide nor guilty of wrongdoing, he threatens the investigators himself. Offense is the best defense in this scenario. According to Sen. Gordon, the supposed first target of Duterte, the latter is on "self-destruct" mode by distracting methodology. I agree.

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