MANILA - Detained Pharmally official Linconn Ong on Tuesday said he is "not yet ready" to reveal how much money businessman and former presidential economic adviser Michael Yang lent their firm to help in their transactions with government for the provision of pandemic supplies.
In September, Huang Tzu Yen, Pharmally's chairperson, admitted that they borrowed money from Yang for their deal with the Procurement Service of the Department of Budget and Management (PS-DBM).
The company had to borrow money from the Davao-based businessman to finance the acquisition of face masks and RT-PCR test kits, according to Huang.
"Sen. Drilon, I am not refusing. But what I'm trying to say is, I don't want to incriminate myself. If I disclose, I might get sued by someone else. And then we have a pending petition sa Supreme Court, which I cannot comprehend what will happen to me if I further discuss yung things in this Senate hearing," Ong said at the continuation of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee's probe into the Pharmally transactions.
"But I'll do my best to cooperate with the honorables," he added.
When pressed if he is ready to disclose how much money Yang lent to be able to enter with the supply contract with PS-DBM, Ong replied in the negative.
"I am not ready," he said.
Ong has repeatedly cited non-disclosure agreements (NDA) in refusing to elaborate on such deals with Yang during the span of the Senate hearings.
Senator Panfilo Lacson earlier said Ong had divulged "very vital" information about Yang's role in supposedly financing the firm in its deals with government.
Ong had asked for an executive session to discuss these information, but later retracted.
"There was already information shared by Ong as well as the other guy from Singapore that Michael Yang indeed loaned money to Pharmally to purchase medicines from TigerPhil and even other medical suppliers," Lacson had said.
Ong is currently detained at the Senate building in Pasay City after senators find him being evasive in answering questions.
Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp is facing investigation in both houses of Congress after it cornered P8.5 billion in contracts with the Department of Budget and Management's Procurement Service (PS-DBM) between April and June 2020 despite having only P625,000 in capital.
The next hearing is scheduled to resume on Oct. 28, at 11 a.m.
Some senators suspect Pharmally was favored by government because of its links with Yang. They also said the items it sold to government were overpriced.
President Rodrigo Duterte denied there was overpricing and said the deals were above board.
Sen. Richard Gordon, chair of the Blue Ribbon Committee, said public funds wasted on anomalous transactions could have been used for the benefits of health workers who are battling COVID-19 in the frontlines.