Pharmally

Senate threatens to send Pharmally execs to jail if ‘missing’ documents not found

Mara Cepeda
Senate threatens to send Pharmally execs to jail if ‘missing’ documents not found

GIVE DOCS OR GET JAILED. Detained Pharmally executives Mohit Dargani and Linconn Ong are given one hour on November 26, 2021 to figure out the location of the missing financial records subpoenaed by senators.

Senate PRIB

Blue ribbon committee chairman Richard Gordon allows Pharmally's Mohit Dargani and Linconn Ong to leave the Senate premises, escorted, to retrieve their firm's financial documents by Saturday, November 27

Senators are dead set on sending to jail two executives of the government’s biggest pandemic supplier, Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corporation, if they cannot produce by Saturday, November 27, the supposedly missing documents on the firm’s financial dealings. 

On Friday, November 26, the Senate blue ribbon committee agreed to move Pharmally corporate secretary and treasurer Mohit Dargani and director Linconn Ong from Senate detention to the Pasay City Jail. 

This came after senators got frustrated when Dargani and Ong requested they be allowed to speak with each other, their lawyers, and Pharmally’s accountant so they could figure out the location of the documents. 

The documents were apparently left in Pharmally’s old office in Taguig, but the premises have long been vacated by the firm. 

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“You wanna play hard ball? We will play hard ball with you. We are not defenseless, you know,” said blue ribbon panel chairman Richard Gordon. 

Both Dargani and Ong are detained in the Senate for their evasive answers in previous hearings. Dargani and his sister Twinkle were also arrested for not presenting Pharmally’s financial papers earlier subpoenaed by senators.

Gordon then recalled Senator Kiko Pangilinan’s motion made during a previous hearing, where he already suggested sending the Pharmally executives to jail for not cooperating with the panel.

Pangilinan then modified his motion so that only Dargani and Ong would be sent to the Pasay City Jail. Dargani’s sister Twinkle, also a director of Pharmally, will remain under Senate custody for now after her brother said she had been suffering from mental health issues. 

“They’re making it as an excuse for us not to retrieve these documents. This is a joke,” Pangilinan said in Filipino, referring to Mohit Dargani and Ong’s request to speak to each other and their lawyers.

Dargani, however, made one last appeal that he be allowed to physically visit their old office. Gordon granted the requested, provided that Dargani and other Pharmally officials would be escorted by the Senate’s security personnel. 

“I will genuinely look for them,” Dargani said. 

Gordon then gave Dargani and Ong one hour to speak with each other on Friday night. Then, on Saturday, they would be escorted by the Senate security to their old office to retrieve the documents.

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If they fail to do so, Dargani and Ong would be sent to the Pasay City Jail instead. 

“We will allow you one hour. That’s it. But make no mistake about it: If we do not get those boxes immediately, there’s a standing order that you be transferred – and I have done this before – to the Pasay City Jail,” said Gordon. 

Dargani ended up crying during the first two hours of Friday’s hearing, insisting he and sister Twinkle were not trying to flee from the Senate investigation when they booked their foiled getaway flight from Davao City to Malaysia.

Ong also distanced himself from the comments made by his lawyer Ferdinand Topacio against Senator Risa Hontiveros, a blue ribbon panel member who had been consistently grilling Ong and the ohers embroiled in the Pharmally scandal.

Meanwhile, Chinese businessman and former presidential adviser Michael Yang, who also faces two arrest warrants from the Senate, was once again a no-show on Friday.  – Rappler.com

Read the other stories from the November 26, 2021, Senate blue ribbon committee hearing, and related reports:

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 mara.cepeda@rappler.com or tweet @maracepeda.