Senate arrests Darganis but Lao remains at large

Published November 15, 2021, 11:04 AM

by Mario Casayuran


The Dargani siblings – Mohit and Twinkle – have been arrested in Davao city following an attempt to leave the Philippines aboard a Lear jet reportedly for Singapore.

But Lloyd Christopher Lao, resigned Procurement Service, Department of Budget and Management (PS-DBM) chief, remained at large despite attempts by Senate security officers to find him in his Davao city, Quezon City and Cebu residences.

Lao, a presidential appointee, had refused to attend further Senate committee hearings following a directive of President Duterte to his Cabinet officials and government employees not to attend the public hearings of the Senate Blue Ribbon committee,

Senator Richard J. Gordon, Senate Blue Ribbon committee chairman who signed the arrest orders for the three for refusal to cooperate with his committee on its probe into alleged overpriced purchases of COVID-19 pandemic health supplies worth billions of pesos, said flight means guilt.

Gordon reportedly got a confidential information from the Bureau of Immigration (BI) two days ago that Mohit, corporate secretary of Pharmally corporation, and his sister, Twinkle, Pharmally president, were on planning to escape through the country’s southern backdoor.

The Gordon committee hearing resumes on Nov. 25 its hybrid hearing on the alleged ‘’premeditated plunder’’ at PS-DBM which gave COVID-related medical supplies worth P42 billion to 45 suppliers last year and this year.

The Darganis will join Lincoln Ong, Pharmally director, at the OSAA. Ong has been under Senate detention for refusal to turn over to the committee Pharmally corporate documents.

Retired General Rene Samonte, head of the Office of the Sergeant-at-Arms (OSAA) at the Senate, said the Darganis went through procedural health examinations at the Senate complex.

Aside from their Philippine passports, the Darganis reportedly have passports issued by a European country.

The Darganis were with their mother but had to leave her in Davao city as OSAA agents brought them to a private plane chartered by Senate President Vicente C. Sotto III.

Mohit tried from ran away from his six captors while they were about to board the plane for Manila but failed because it was for a short distance only.

The Gordon committee had asked the BI to be on the lookout for the Darganis.

The plane arrived at the domestic airport last night from Davao.

President Duterte and Michael Yang, former economic adviser of President Duterte, are Davao city residents.

Yang had denied a testimony of Ong that Yang helped Pharmally in getting funds to help the firm get an initial contract from PS-DBM.

Pharmally eventually got more than P10 billion worth of contracts from PS-DBM although it had a paid up P625,000 paid up capital only.

Samonte said the Darganis were able to talk their lawyer through phone.

He thanked Sotto for arranging a private plane used in transporting the Darganis from Davao city to the Manila domestic airport.

He, likewise, thanked his OSAA agents who continue to hunt for Lao, a lawyer.