Senate panel grills Michael Yang over certificate from Princeton University

Job Manahan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 28 2021 11:05 PM

MANILA - The Senate Blue Ribbon Committee on Thursday raised questions on Davao-based businessman Michael Yang's supposed doctorate degree from Princeton University, as hearings on the government's pandemic deals continued. 

Sen. Richard Gordon, who chairs the panel, pointed out a Vera Files report that showed Yang, President Rodrigo Duterte's former special economic adviser, has a doctorate in business administration from the US-based university. 

Vera Files cited Yang's website, which has since been inaccessible. 

Yang said he has a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the Tsinghua University's School of Finance in Beijing. 

"I studied around 2 years, but because of the pandemic, I could not go back. It was round 2019-2020," Yang said through the panel's translator. 

He also plans to go back to China in a month to resume his studies for Executive MBA. 

He also confirmed his certificate from Princeton, which he got when the university had the said program there. 

"Princeton University had set up a branch in Beijing so I was able to participate and they gave me a certificate," he explained.

Sen. Francis Pangilinan said a certificate does not indicate that he has a doctorate degree. 

Gordon echoed Pangilinan's sentiments. 

The lawmaker pointed out that he asked these questions to double check how many years Yang has been staying in the Philippines, which they estimate around 22 years. 

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). 

Yang denied this during the day's hearing.

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.

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