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The National Privacy Commission (NPC) said that data privacy cannot be invoked in refusing to provide documents in investigations, following the refusal of Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corporation executives to cooperate in Senate probes.
In a statement on Thursday, October 21, the NPC reiterated that the Data Privacy Act of 2012 does not prohibit the disclosure of personal or sensitive personal information when “complying with validly issued subpoenas.”
“Data privacy rights should not be cited as an excuse to evade legal proceedings,” said NPC Commissioner Raymund Liboro.
Liboro said that there are provisions in the law that recognizes the processing of personal information to comply with legal obligations or to fulfill functions of public authorities.
The privacy commissioner added that sensitive personal information may also be processed “when provided for by existing laws and regulations, or necessary for establishment, exercise, or defense of legal claims, among others.”
Pharmally is a small company with only P625,000 in capital but still managed to get P10 billion in government pandemic contracts when the Procurement Service-Department of Budget and Management was still under Lloyd Christopher Lao.
The Senate blue ribbon committee is investigating the red flags raised over Pharmally’s government deals.
Liboro issued the statement after Pharmally executives Twinkle and Mohit Dargani kept citing the Data Privacy Act in refusing to answer questions or turning over documents to the Senate blue ribbon committee.
The Darganis were cited in contempt and were ordered to be detained in the Senate. On Thursday, Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Rene Samonte said that the Darganis were reportedly in hiding.
The Senate hearings have revealed that to cope with their contracts, Pharmally would be financed and guaranteed to their Chinese suppliers by Michael Yang, former economic adviser to Duterte.
The Senate probe resumed on Thursday, October 28. – Rappler.com