Senate arrests Pharmally exec over allegedly evasive answers in inquiry

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 21 2021 03:44 PM | Updated as of Sep 21 2021 05:18 PM

Members of the Office of the Sergeant-At-Arms escort Pharmally Pharmaceuticals Corporation Executive Linconn Ong Senate PRIB
Members of the Office of the Sergeant-At-Arms escort Pharmally Pharmaceuticals Corporation Executive Linconn Ong (middle) inside the Senate building Tuesday, September 21, 2021. Ong was cited in contempt and ordered to be arrested by the Blue Ribbon Committee for evading questions during the September 10, 2021 hearing on the 2020 Commission on Audit report and other issues related to budget utilization of the Department of Health (DOH), especially its expenditures related to the fight against COVID-19. Senate PRIB

MANILA— The Senate on Tuesday arrested Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp director Linconn Ong for allegedly evasive answers and failing to submit several financial documents subpoenaed during an investigation into its allegedly anomalous supply deal with government.

Officers from the Senate Sergeant-at-Arms fetched Ong from his Metro Manila residence and are expected to detain him at the Senate building in Pasay City.

"Nagpa-pack na po ako ng gamit. Ide-detain na ako ng Senado. I have to go down in 10 minutes," he told senators as he asked for permission to be excused from the hearing.

(I am packing my things. I will be detained in the Senate. I have to go down in 10 minutes.)

Ong is the Pharmally official who delivered 500,000 face masks to the Department of Budget and Management's Procurement Service (PS-DBM) in March 2020, a month before the agency released a purchase order for these supplies.

Pharmally also delivered another 2 million face masks to the PS-DBM even before receiving purchase orders from the agency, as the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee hearing found.

Ong said Pharmally never received advance payments from the government even if they were able to deliver. 

Earlier this month, Ong was cited in contempt for lying under oath.

He initially said that former Presidential Adviser on Economic Affairs Michael Yang was not involved in Pharmally's transactions with government.

Ong later admitted that the firm borrowed money from the Chinese businessman to finance the procurement of face masks and RT-PCR test kits for the PS-DBM.

Ong worked as a translator for Yang before Pharmally was incorporated in 2019.