House of Representatives

House panel cites Michael Yang in contempt for absence in hearings

Jairo Bolledo

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House panel cites Michael Yang in contempt for absence in hearings

PHARMALLY SCANDAL. President Rodrigo Duterte's former economic adviser Michael Yang during the House good government and public accountability hearing on September 20, 2021.

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Michael Yang, who was implicated in the Pharmally scandal, is former president Rodrigo Duterte's economic adviser

MANILA, Philippines – A panel of the House of Representatives cited former presidential adviser Michael Yang in contempt for his repeated absences in the committee’s ongoing hearings.

On Wednesday, July 10, the House committee on dangerous drugs cited Yang in contempt for his failure to attend the panel’s successive hearings. Yang was onetime economic adviser of former president Rodrigo Duterte.

The House committee is looking into the multi-billion-peso shabu seized in Mabalacat City in Pampanga, and Subic Bay on different occasions.

Yang was implicated in the hearings because lawmakers discovered that Empire 999, which owned the warehouse where the illegal drugs were seized, listed as co-owner a certain Lincoln Ong.

Ong was identified during the hearing as having served as Yang’s translator.

When cited in contempt, a legislative chamber, like the House and the Senate, may detain, hold a person under their custody. The legislature’s contempt powers allow them to arrest and detain people in the chamber’s premises during an inquiry. (READ: From Aegis Juris to Pharmally: Why SC keeps reminding Senate of limited contempt power).

Before he was cited in contempt, the House already issued a show-cause order against Yang asking him to formally explain why he failed to show up the previous hearing. For the last hearings, lawyer Raymond Fortun represented Yang.

At the height of the pandemic, Yang was tagged in the Pharmally scandal. The former Duterte adviser allegedly financed Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corporation, the biggest winner of pandemic contracts despite having measly capital. Yang denied the said allegation. –

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Jairo Bolledo

Jairo Bolledo is a multimedia reporter at Rappler covering justice, police, and crime.