Michael Yang's business partner denies link to Duterte admin's pandemic purchases, illegal drug trade

A business partner of former presidential adviser Michael Yang has denied her links to the foreign company which bagged over P8.6 billion of deals from the government for the purchase of COVID-19 supplies.

Senator Risa Hontiveros (left) quizzes Rose Nono Lin (right) on her ties with former presidential adviser Michael Yang and her alleged involvement in the government's pandemic purchases during the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee's virtual hearing on the issue, September 17, 2021. (Screen capture from Senate livesream/YouTube)

Rose Nono-Lin appeared before Senate Blue Ribbon Committee's seventh hearing on Friday, September 17, on the issue to dispute Senator Risa Hontiveros's claim that she is "key" to connecting the dots on the government's procurement of allegedly overpriced health supplies and equipment for pandemic response.

Hontiveros previously said that Lin has been holding key positions in several companies linked to Yang, including being an incorporator of the Pharmally Biological Inc., which she said is a sister company of Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corporation.

But Lin said the two Pharmallys, despite bearing similar names, were different companies and were not related.

"Wala po akong kinalaman sa pagpapatakbo ng negosyo ng Pharmally Pharmaceutical (I don't have any involvement in the business operation of Pharmally Pharmaceutical)," Lin read her prepared statement, denying that Pharmally Biological had shares in Pharmally Pharmaceuticals and vice versa.

"Hindi rin po ako direktor, opisyal o shareholder nito. Wala rin po akong kontrata na pinasok sa gobyerno para po magsupply ng PPE (I am also not a director, official, or a shareholder in this company. I also did not forge any contracts with the government for supplying personal protective equipment)," she added.

The businesswoman, however, confirmed working with Huang Tzu Yen in Pharmally Biological. It was Yang who introduced them to each other, she told the senators.

Huang is currently the chairman and president of Pharmally Pharmaceutical, who admitted seeking help from President Duterte's former economic adviser to be able to deliver the items asked by the government.

He said Yang funded some of their purchases, although the latter denied any participation in Pharmally Pharmaceutical's dealings.

Lin also defended herself and her husband, Lin Wei Xiong, from accusations linking them to illegal drugs. Senators had raised that Lin Wei Xiong may be the same person as Allan Lim, who was profiled as an alleged drug personality.

Denying Hontiveros' claim, Lin showed her marriage certificate and said she is not married to Allan Lim. She also complained about Hontiveros dragging her family into the mess.

"Malaki po ang tiwala ko sa aking asawa. Kay Michael Yang po, wala naman po kaming alam na masama tungkol po sa kanya (I trust my husband very much. And on Michael Yang, we are not aware of anything wrong about him)," Lin said.

But Hontiveros still doubted the resource person's denial, even raising the possibility was acting as a "dummy" for Yang.

"Paano makakasiguro ang komiteng ito na hindi kayo dummy, na hindi kayo ginagamit ng dayuhan na baka 100-percent owned pala 'yong mga kumpanya ni Michael Yang (How will this committee be assured that you are not a dummy, that you are not being used by foreigners and the companies owned by Michael Yang are not 100-percent foreign owned)?" the opposition senator said.

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon also expressed his disbelief on Lin over her supposed failure to justify how she became Pharmally Biological's treasurer and chief financial officer despite her "small" share.

"As a reality, you don't get elected as a treasurer, unless, you are nominated by those with substantial shares in a corporation. Yes, you are appointed by the board, but upon the nomination of somebody who owns substantial shares in Pharmally," Drilon told Lin.