Lacson says Pharmally's Ong might spend Christmas, New Year in detention

Published September 28, 2021, 10:25 AM

by Hannah Torregoza 

Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corporation’s director Linconn Ong might spend the Christmas and New Year’s Eve detained if he continues to be evasive and refuse to cooperate with the Senate, Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson said on Tuesday.

“If he continues to be evasive, not to cooperate, I would guess he would be spending Christmas and even New Year’s Eve in his temporary cell. It’s all up to him,” Lacson said in an interview on ANC’s Headstart.

According to Lacson, before Ong declined an executive meeting with senators, he disclosed “vital information” related to former presidential economic adviser Michael Yang’s role in financing Pharmally and helping them get a supply deal with the Duterte government.

The senator said Ong divulged this information to him and Senate President Vicente Sotto III. “We had an agreement with him at that time that it would just be between him and the Senate President and myself,” Lacson said.

But “the environment has changed. He hired a lawyer, very arrogant, calling senators and the Senate names. I don’t think it will help his cause,” the lawmaker pointed out.

However, even without Ong’s cooperation, Lacson said there is sufficient grounds to suspect that Yang is indeed involved in the procurement of COVID-19 pandemic supplies to the government.

“Remember there was already information shared by Ong as well as the other guy from Singapore, that Yang loaned money to Pharmally to purchase medicines from Tigerphil and other suppliers,” he pointed out.

“(So) even without the corroborative statement of Ong, I think we have sufficient grounds to suspect Yang really has something to do with the providing of medical supplies to DBM-PS,” he said, referring to the Department of Budget and Management’s Procurement Service.

Lacson also thumbed down President Duterte’s claim Ong’s detention is too much, saying it was done within the powers of the Senate to cite him in contempt of the committee and detain him within the premises of the Upper Chamber.

“We can even transfer him to other facilities. That’s how it is. He has been evasive in his answers to the senators,” he said.

“As long as he refuses to cooperate, he will stay under detention until such time we have approved the committee report if and when it is submitted by the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee chairman or the committee itself,” he pointed out.