Ombudsman affirms graft indictment vs Pharmally officials

Jairo Bolledo

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Ombudsman affirms graft indictment vs Pharmally officials

UNDER HEAT. File photo of former DBM undersecretary Christopher Lloyd Lao at President Rodrigo Duterte's 'Talk to the People' in May 2020.

RTVM screenshot

The Ombudsman also adds Lin Weixiong to the list of those who will face charges

MANILA, Philippines – The Office of the Ombudsman has affirmed its resolution that recommended the filing of graft charges against officials involved in the Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corporation mess.

In an order dated May 3, but was publicized on Thursday, May 9, the Ombudsman denied the supplemental motion for reconsideration filed by former Procurement Service-Department of Budget and Management (PS-DBM) undersecretary Lloyd Christopher Lao. Aside from dismissing the appeal, the Ombudsman also modified its indictment order and included Lin Weixiong.

Lin Weixiong is Rose Nono Lin’s husband. He was among the business personalities implicated in the Pharmally mess.

The private respondents include Twinkle Dargani, Mohit Dargani, Linconn Ong, Justine Garado, and Huang Tzu Yen.

The Ombudsman’s special panel of investigators recommended the filing of charges against Lao, former procurement director and current Overall Deputy Ombudsman Warren Rex Liong, and other PS-DBM and Pharmally officials under the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

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Ombudsman recommends filing of graft charges vs officials tagged in Pharmally scandal

Ombudsman recommends filing of graft charges vs officials tagged in Pharmally scandal

The Ombudsman said the respondents allegedly conspired and acted in bad faith in procuring RT-PCR test kits worth P1.3 billion.

Pharmally was among the biggest scandals that happened during the presidency of former president Rodrigo Duterte. A string of anomalies was exposed in connection with the multi-billion-peso COVID-19 contracts awarded by Duterte’s government to Pharmally, a small company with a mere P625,000-capital.

An investigative report by Rappler revealed that Chinese businessman Michael Yang, Duterte’s former economic adviser and friend, has links to Pharmally. The company’s officials said Yang was their financier and guarantor, but the former presidential adviser denied the claim. –

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Jairo Bolledo

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