Pharmally’s Twinkle Dargani gets COVID-19 under Senate detention

Mara Cepeda
Pharmally’s Twinkle Dargani gets COVID-19 under Senate detention

CHECKUP. Members of the Senate Medical and Dental Bureau do a checkup on Pharmally's Twinkle Dargani on January 10, 2022, after she tested positive for COVID-19 while under Senate custody.

Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Rene Samonte

Pharmally president Twinkle Dargani has 'very mild' COVID-19 symptoms

MANILA, Philippines – Twinkle Dargani, president of the controversial Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corporation, tested positive for the coronavirus while under detention at the Senate’s headquarters in Pasay City. 

Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Rene Samonte told Rappler on Monday, January 10, that Dargani was swabbed for her RT-PCR test on Thursday, January 6. Her results came back positive the next day. 

The Senate is currently under lockdown until Sunday, January 16, after at least 46 staff members tested positive for COVID-19. Three senators were also infected: Win Gatchalian, Ping Lacson, and Kiko Pangilinan. 

Dargani has “very mild” symptoms and will stay under Senate custody, though Senate President Vicente Sotto III and Senate blue ribbon committee chair Richard Gordon agreed to transfer her to the Philippine General Hospital as needed. 

Samonte said doctors from the Senate Medical and Dental Bureau are monitoring her round the clock and she has been given medicines.

“Right now, that (staying in the Senate) seems to be the case. Her COVID-19 condition is considered very mild, and we don’t want to risk her to more exposure at this time when hospitals are full, mostly with moderate to critical patients,” said Samonte via Viber message. 

The Senate blue ribbon panel earlier moved to detain Dargani and two other Pharmally executives – her brother Mohit Dargani and Linconn Ong – for refusing to cooperate in the ongoing probe into the multibillion-peso pandemic contracts that Pharmally bagged under President Rodrigo Duterte. 

Pharmally’s Twinkle Dargani gets COVID-19 under Senate detention

Mohit Dargani and Ong have since been transferred to the Pasay City Jail. Owing to her mental health concerns, Twinkle was allowed to stay in the Senate instead. 

The Philippines is now experiencing a rapid surge in COVID-19 cases driven by the highly transmissible Omicron variant. On Monday, the country tallied 33,169 new COVID-19 infections, the highest single-day record since the pandemic began in March 2020. –

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Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda specializes in stories about politics and local governance. She covers the Office of the Vice President, the Senate, and the Philippine opposition. She is a 2021 fellow of the Asia Journalism Fellowship and the Reham al-Farra Memorial Journalism Fellowship of the UN. Got tips? Email her at or tweet @maracepeda.