Senators not surprised Dargani siblings sought sanctuary in Duterte hometown; lauds Senate team that arrested duo

Published November 15, 2021, 9:10 AM

by Hannah Torregoza 

Senators on Monday lauded the team of the Senate Sergeant-at-Arms for finally arresting Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corporation executives Mohit Dargani and his sister Twinkle Dargani who have been cited in contempt by the Senate blue ribbon committee.

Sen. Richard Gordon, chair of the blue ribbon panel, said the Senate has been, for the past few weeks, scouring possible hideouts of the Darganis after they were cited in contempt and ordered to be arrested for refusing to submit documents asked of them by the committee.

The duo were eventually arrested at around 5 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 14, at the Davao International Airport where Senate authorities said they were about to flee via an executive privately chartered flight to Malaysia.

Gordon said it is “not surprising that they sought sanctuary in the President’s home town of Davao and plotted to execute their grand escape from there.”

“We knew they were hatching their grand escape via the back door,” Gordon said in a statement.

“Indeed, they chartered a private plane and were leaving via Davao where they figured they could be safe and make law enforcement officers pause or hesitate to arrest them,” he added.

“We thank Senate President Vicente Sotto III who called me last night and made arrangements for a private plane to take the Dargani siblings back to Manila. We also commend Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Rene Samonte and his men for doing their job well in protecting the Senate’s enforcement of its rules,” Gordon stressed.

Nevertheless, Gordon said the Senate’s task of probing the questionable procurement of overpriced COVID-19 pandemic supplies between the Department of Budget and Management’s Procurement Service (DBM-PS) and Pharmally is far from over.

“But our task is not yet complete. The Darganis will be detained at the Senate until they tell the Filipino people the whole truth. We hope they will be more forthright in answering our questions in the next hearing on Nov. 26,” Gordon said.

Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson said he is also certain that the other personalities involved, especially Christopher Lloyd Lao, the former DBM-PS chief, and Michael Yang would also be transported to the Senate premises soon.

“There is no safe haven on earth even for people like Michael Yang, Christopher Lao, the Dargani siblings…Davao city is not safe. They should stop thinking na hindi sila pwedeng magalaw doon (that they could not be touched there),” Lacson pointed out.

Lacson also said the OSAA Sergeant-at-Arms chief Rene Samonte and his team deserves the commendation by the senators and the Filipino people as well.

“Because had the Dargani siblings flown outside of the Philippines, wala na parang putol na rin tayo (we won’t make it),” he pointed out.

Lacson said the Senate should continue to learn its lessons from the Darganis’ near-escape and adapt accordingly.

“It bears repeating that we should also continue to learn our lessons from what happened and adapt accordingly – in this case, making sure that even with virtual hearings, the Senate retains its element of surprise and does not telegraph its moves,” he said.