Pharmally director contracts COVID, placed under house arrest: Sotto


Posted at Sep 13 2021 10:58 AM | Updated as of Sep 13 2021 11:19 AM

MANILA - The director of Pharmally Pharmaceuticals is under house arrest, an official said as the Senate continues its investigation into the alleged overpricing of medical supplies.

Pharmally director Linconn Ong had tested positive for COVID-19, said Senate President Vicente "Tito" Sotto III. 

"We have security personnel on duty checking on him, but I cannot divulge where," Senate sergeant-at-arms Rene Samonte said.

Former presidential economic adviser Michael Yang will attend the Senate hearing later Monday, Sotto added.

"I have no word on Yang but his lawyer said he will be attending (today) virtually," he said.

Despite its lack of funds, Pharmally secured P8.5 billion in contracts with the Department of Budget and Management's Procurement Service (PS-DBM) between April and June 2020, Senator Richard Gordon earlier said.

Yang previously claimed he did not have anything to do with Pharmally bagging contracts from the PS-DBM. He told senators that he knew Ong through a relative. He also said he introduced Ong to suppliers, but left them to discuss matters on their own.

Pharmally chairperson Huang Tzu Yen, however, told senators last week the company had to borrow money from Michael Yang to finance the procurement of face masks and RT-PCR test kits.

We borrowed money from him," Huang told the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee.

"Since we were not able to finance these things, he offered to lend us the money so we will be able to pay for it. We will pay him back once we receive the money from the government," he said.

Senators, meanwhile, had moved to arrest Yang and Pharmally's Linconn Ong for giving the panel "evasive" answers when questioned about the former presidential adviser's involvement in the questionable procurement of pandemic supplies from Pharmally.

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