Senate panel recommends charges vs Michael Yang, Pharmally, DBM-PS execs for COVID-19 fund mess

Published October 19, 2021, 4:57 PM

by Hannah Torregoza 

The Senate Blue Ribbon Committee on Tuesday released its preliminary report on its investigation on the alleged anomalies in the government’s handling of COVID-19 pandemic funds and recommended that charges be filed against a former state economic adviser, Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp. executives and Department of Budget and Management (DBM) officials.

Sen. Richard Gordon, chairman of the blue ribbon panel, released the partial committee report on its investigation on the P8.6-billion worth of contract between Pharmally and the DBM’s Procurement Service (DBM-PS) for the procurement of COVID-19 pandemic supplies which senators deemed were overpriced and substandard.

“Ito po ay partial report at ayokong gamitin pa ito na mitsa na sabihin na tapusin na naman ang imbestigasyon. Marami na po diyan ang malalagay (This is just a partial report and I don’t want it to be said that we finish our investigation. We can already put a lot of names here),” Gordon pointed out during the resumption of the committee’s investigation.

Gordon named former presidential economic adviser Michael Yang, former DBM-PS undersecretary Christopher Lloyd Lao, and Pharmally Pharmaceutical directors and officers including Linconn Ong and Krizle Mago.

The panel recommended the filing of cases to support the deportaiton proceedings against Yang for being an undesirable alien. The committee also recommended the filing of graft and corrupt practices charges against Lao, Yang, and other officers and directors of Pharmally.

The committee also recommended estafa and perjury against Pharmally’s Mago who recanted her statement that she believes her company was swindling the government when it sold damaged medical-grade face shields saying it was a “pressured response.”

During the course of the hearings, Pharmally officials disclosed that Yang, President Duterte’s former economic adviser, helped finance the undercapitalized company to help it comply with some of the government’s requirements last year.

Yang, however, denied the allegation, saying he only helped introduce Ong to his friends among suppliers in China.