MANILA – Detained executives of Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp. will only be freed from Senate custody on June 3, 2022 if the Senate approves the Blue Ribbon Committee report.
Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said the Senate must first approve the committee report before Pharmally executives Mohit Dargani and Linconn Ong can be released from custody.
"Tama po, June 3, sila ay makakalabas na kung ang commitee report na isusumite ay ma-aprubahan ng Senado. Kung wala pong maaprubahan na committee report, walang maisumite na committee report, maghihintay po sila hanggang June 30," Drilon said.
(That's right, they will be released on June 3 if the Senate approves the committee report. If there is no approved committee report, or no submitted committee report, then they have to wait until June 30.)
Drilon clarified that Ong and Dargani are detained because they refuse to cooperate with the Senate investigation.
"Sila po ay nakakulong hindi dahil sa parusa. Sila po ay ikinulong dahil ayaw nilang sabihin ang kailangang malaman ng Senado," he said.
(They are detained not as a punishment. They are detained because they refuse to tell the Senate what they know.)
He also said that their detention is based on what the Supreme Court said about their cases.
"Sila ngayon ay nakakulong sa Pasay at ang sabi ng Korte Suprema sa kanilang mga kaso, ang kanilang pagkakulong ay mananatili hanggang makasumite at maabrubahan ang committee report ng Blue Ribbon," Drilon said.
(They are now detained in Pasay and according to the Supreme Court, they will remain in detention until the Blue Ribbon committee report gets submitted and approved.)
"Kung wala pang report, hanggang mag-adjourn ang 18th Congress sa June 30," he added.
(If there is no approved report, then they have to wait until the 18th Congress adjourns on June 30.)
According to Drilon, there are some members of the committee who do not agree with the report, and they have yet to reach an agreement.
Once the report is signed by majority of the members of the committee, then it needs to be approved by the Senate.
"Mayroong committee report, hindi sumasang-ayon ang ilan kaya nag-uusap pa sila kung ano ang dapat i-amend sa committee report para po magkaroon ng sapat na pirma," Drilon said.
(There is a committee report, but some members do not agree so they still have to talk about the amendments before they sign the committee report.)
"Kung kami po ay 20 sa committee, dapat 11 ang pipirma. Kung walang 11 ang pipirma, hindi magkakaroon ng report hanggang hindi mag-uusap kung ano ba dapat ang ilagay doon para ang mayorya ay makapirma sa report," he added.
(If there are 20 of us in the committee, there should be 11 signatures. If the signatures won't reach 11, we cannot submit a report until we reach a consensus on the contents of the report.)
Senate President Tito Sotto on Tuesday said Ong and Dargani will be released on June 3.
Last year, Ong asked the Supreme Court to nullify a Senate contempt order that led to his detention over his refusal to cooperate in the probe on the allegedly overpriced and anomalous pandemic deals.
In April, Dargani filed a complaint before the Supreme Court against a Court of Appeals justice for allegedly sitting on his bid to be released - a claim CA Associate Justice Apolinario Bruselas, Jr. refuted.
The Senate Blue Ribbon Committee has recommended the filing of charges against Health Secretary Francisco Duque III and other Pharmally officials, including Dargani and Ong.
Dargani's sister Twinkle had also been detained in the Senate but was later released on humanitarian considerations.