MANILA—The Senate has approved the release of Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp. president Twinkle Dargani from the chamber's custody, citing humanitarian considerations, Senate President Vicente Sotto III said Monday.
Senate Blue Ribbon Committee chairman Sen. Richard Gordon, Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri and Minority Leader Franklin Drilon have agreed to release Dargani after her mother pleaded to lawmakers, Sotto said in a statement.
Dargani's mother, Deepa, "has expressed deep concern over her daughter’s deteriorating mental health condition," Sotto added.
Twinkle Dargani also tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this week.
The Senate's decision came hours after its Sergeant-at-Arms, Retired Maj. Gen. Rene Samonte, said Dargani would remain detained in the Senate, as recommended by the upper chamber's medical office.
"Her mother has promised to present her to the Senate whenever she is needed by the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee," Samonte said, noting that the Pharmally executive would be released Monday night.
Dargani has been detained in the Senate premises in Pasay City since November 2021 after officials from the Senate's Office of the Sergeant-at-Arms caught her and her brother, Mohit, aboard a private plane bound for Kuala Lumpur despite a subpoena from the Blue Ribbon committee.
Mohit and Twinkle Dargani are among the Pharmally officials who have been placed under Senate custody for refusing to hand over crucial documents to the Blue Ribbon Committee that would explain how their 2-year-old company bagged billions-worth of pandemic-related contracts from the budget department's procurement service despite having less than a million pesos in paid-up capital.
The Dargani siblings earlier admitted that they tried to flee the country last year for the sake of their mental health.
The Senate also found that the siblings spent nearly P2 million to secure flights to evade arrest.