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Senate orders arrest of Michael Yang

Updated: 12:47 am Sept. 8, 2021

SENATE President Vicente “Tito” Sotto 3rd has ordered the arrest of Chinese businessman Michael Yang for repeatedly ignoring invitations to attend a probe of allegedly overpriced medical supplies using public funds.

“I issued two warrants already. Solo [warrant for] Yang, then the other one include[d] the named officials of Pharmally,” Sotto said in a text message.

He issued a separate warrant of arrest against officials of Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp. for their alleged refusal to attend the fourth virtual hearing on the controversy.

They were Mohit Dargani, who is reportedly in Dubai; Twinkle Dargani; Justine Garado; Linconn Ong; and Krizle Grace Mago.

Yang, former economic adviser of President Rodrigo Duterte, was cited in contempt by the Senate blue ribbon committee for ignoring two subpoenas to attend the hearing on the Department of Health’s use of pandemic funds.

Senators wanted Yang to shed light on his ties to Pharmally Pharmaceuticals Corp., the government’s biggest provider of medical supplies against the pandemic.

“The motion to cite for contempt has already been approved,” Sen. Richard Gordon, committee chairman, said, adding that it appeared that Yang has no plans to attend the hearing.

“There are no objections. The director general should now send it formally to the Senate president and the process should start to make sure a warrant of arrest is issued,” Gordon said.

Lawyer Raymond Fortun, in his letter to Gordon, said his client, Yang, has not received any subpoena, but he was willing to cooperate in the inquiry.

“Mr. Yang apologizes for his absence at today’s hearing but gives his assurance to be present at the next hearing of the committee,” Fortun said as he asked Gordon to send any subpoena for Yang to his office.

Meanwhile, Huang Tzu Yen, president and chairman of Pharmally, attended the hearing virtually from his home in Singapore.

Sen. Ana Theresia “Risa” Hontiveros earlier urged the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to stop accepting proposals from a medical supplier allegedly linked to a financial fraud scandal.

She urged the DBM to reject submissions from Pharmally because of the company’s close links to Pharmally International Holdings Corp., a Taiwanese company charged with financial fraud.

According to Taipei Times, Huang Wen-lai, the chairman of Pharmally International, was issued an arrest warrant for allegedly transferring NT$700 million to his personal account.

Hontiveros’ office retrieved a disclosure statement from an annual shareholder report of a different holdings corporation showing that Huang Tzu Yen, one of the owners of Pharmally, is the son of Huang Wen-lai.

According to Bloomberg, Huang Tzu Yen is also a board member of Pharmally International.

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