House of Representatives

House panel spares Michael Yang, pins blame on Pharmally

Rambo Talabong
House panel spares Michael Yang, pins blame on Pharmally

SPARED. Former Duterte economic adviser Michael Yang faces lawmakers via Zoom with his translator.

(1st UPDATE) The House good government and public accountability committee spares Duterte's former economic adviser Michael Yang
House panel spares Michael Yang, pins blame on Pharmally

Sparing Duterte’s former economic adviser Michael Yang, the House committee on good government and public accountability recommended the filing of complaints against the officials of the Procurement Service under the Department of Budget Management (PS-DBM) and Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corporation, government’s biggest pandemic supplier.

Committee chairman and DIWA Representative Edgar Aglipay announced this in a statement on Monday, January 31. According to Aglipay, the committee has recommended that the Philippine government file falsification of documents complaints against PS-DBM’s Mervin Mendoza and Mervin Tanquintic, as well as syndicated estafa against the following Pharmally officials:

  • Huang Tzu Yen – Chairman and president
  • Linconn Ong – Director
  • Mohit Dargani – Corporate secretary and treasurer
  • Twinkle Dargani – President
  • Justine Garado – Director
  • Krizle Grace Mago – former corporate representative
House panel spares Michael Yang, pins blame on Pharmally

The House committee explained that the PS-DBM officials slapped be complaints of falsification of documents after they received goods without inspecting them as the items were still in China.

The committee did not expound on why the Pharmally officials should be charged with syndicated estafa.

The House committee made no mention of Michael Yang, the former economic adviser of Duterte, who was the financier and guarantor of Pharmally to Chinese suppliers. (READ: Michael Yang, associates expand businesses under Duterte presidency)

In a text message to reporters, Aglipay said the committee did not find enough evidence to recommend charges against Yang and former PS-DBM head Lloyd Christopher Lao, who was a former aide to Senator Bong Go when he was still special assistant to Duterte.

Under the Revised Penal Code, estafa includes “altering the quality, fineness or weight of anything pertaining to his art or business.” Pharmally former official Krizle Grace Mago admitted that they changed the manufacture dates of the face shields – a statement that she later retracted.

Syndicated estafa, meanwhile, involves “five or more people formed with the intention of carrying out the unlawful or illegal act, transaction, enterprise or scheme,” with the fraud resulting in the misappropriation of money.

If found guilty, the Pharmally officials can be sentenced to life imprisonment.

The House committee also again recommended that the PS-DBM be abolished as many lawmakers, both from the House and the Senate, found the unit vulnerable to corruption.

The House good government and public accountability panel made these conclusions even after it gave Pharmally officials more opportunity to defend themselves in its hearings, and even when the House panel characterized the more critical Senate blue ribbon probe as a targeted probe against Duterte “in aid of election.” – Rappler.com

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Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers the House of Representatives and local governments for Rappler. Prior to this, he covered security and crime. He was named Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. In 2021, he was selected as a journalism fellow by the Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics.