MANILA - The Senate Blue Ribbon Committee has been unsuccessful so far in its attempt to arrest two Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp. executives after they were not found in their registered locations, the chamber's Sergeant-at-Arms said on Wednesday.
Pharmally President Twinkle Dargani and Secretary Mohit Dargani were not in their three known condominium units when the Senate tried arresting them on Tuesday night, Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Rene Samonte said.
Samonte said they are now following some leads on the whereabouts of the siblings.
The Darganis were cited in contempt and were ordered to be detained at the Senate premises after their refusal to hand over subpoenaed documents to the Blue Ribbon Committee.
Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said the contempt order aimed to pressure the siblings to comply with the subpoena.
Mohit said it was the company that refused to hand over the documents, and it cited a certain law to back its decision.
The Senate panel investigated Pharmally after records showed that the Department of Budget and Management's Procurement Service (PS-DBM) awarded since last year billions-worth of contracts to the company that only had less than a million pesos in paid-up capital.
Some senators earlier said the PS-DBM bought allegedly overpriced face masks and RT-PCR test kits from the company whose executives are accused of fraudulent schemes in Taiwan, instead of procuring from local suppliers that were selling cheaper items.
The panel so far recommended various charges against Pharmally's officers, Chinese businessman and former presidential economic adviser Michael Yang, and former budget Undersecretary Christopher Lao, among others, due to the anomalous transactions.
President Rodrigo Duterte denied the overpricing allegations and said the deals with Pharmally were above aboard.
- With a report from Sherrie Ann Torres, ABS-CBN News