Senator Risa Hontiveros on Wednesday disclosed the alleged links of “shady” Chinese businessmen to Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corporation — a small firm that bagged over P8 billion worth of contracts with the government for the procurement of "overpriced" pandemic supplies.
In a virtual press conference, Hontiveros questioned the transactions entered into by the Department of Budget and Management-Procurement Service with some businessmen whom she tagged as “fugitives.”
“Why is this government transacting with fugitives? Bakit tayo nakikipag-negosyo sa mga taong may warrant of arrest pa nga sa ibang bansa?” Hontiveros asked.
(Why are we transacting with people who have pending warrants of arrest in other countries?)
Showing a news report from Taipei Times and a screengrab of a page on Taiwan's Ministry of Justice website, Hontiveros said Pharmally International Holdings chairman Huang Wen Lie, also known as Tony Huang, is wanted for securities fraud, stock manipulation, and embezzlement.
His son, Huang Tzu Yen, sits as an incorporator of Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp. and Pharmally Biological Inc. He is also wanted for stock manipulation.
According to the senator, Huang Tzu Yen is being sought by Taiwanese authorities since December 29, 2020.
“Bakit hindi ito naamoy man lang ng ating mga awtoridad? Publicly available ang mga impormasyong ito,” she said.
(Why did the government fail to discover this? These pieces of information are publicly available.)
What is more interesting is that despite the arrest warrant against the Pharmally official, the firm was able to enter into a transaction last June 2021, Hontiveros said.
“Why did we even deal with these shady individuals and companies?” she asked.
Hontiveros further linked some Pharmally officials to Chinese businessman and President Rodrigo Duterte’s former economic adviser, Michael Yang.
According to her, Full Win Group directors Rose Lin and Gerald Cruz are also incorporators of Pharmally.
The chairman of Full Win, Zheng Bingqiang, is likewise wanted for manipulating the stocks of Pharmally International Holdings, Hontiveros bared.
The senator said Yang chairs the “Philippine version” of the Full Win company.
“So si Michael Yang pala, na pinapakinggan diumano ni Presidente pagdating sa mga desisyong dapat ay magbabangon sa ating ekonomiya, ay kasabwat ng isang taong tinutugis ng mga awtoridad sa ibang bansa,” she said.
(The Michael Yang, who was allegedly advising the President in terms of decisions related to our economic growth, is apparently connected to persons who are wanted in other countries.)
“Gaano kalalim ba ang ugnayan ni Michael Yang at nitong si Zheng Bingqiang?” she added.
(How deep is the relationship of Michael Yang and this Zheng Bingqiang?)
Hontiveros then showed a 2016 article which showed that Duterte had a meeting with Michael Yang and Zheng Bingqiang.
“2016 ang article na ito, an election year. But Zheng Bingqiang had already met Duterte in 2015, just as he was finalizing his presidential run. It was also in 2015 that the now President toured the Full Win offices in Xiamen with Michael Yang in 2015,” Hontiveros said.
(This article is from 2016, an election year. But Zheng Bingqiang had already met Duterte in 2015, just as he was finalizing his presidential run. It was also in 2015 that the now President toured the Full Win offices in Xiamen with Michael Yang in 2015.)
“Considering that Zheng Bingquiang is involved in Pharmally as shown in the warrant of arrest we showed earlier, this means that President Duterte has been interacting with Pharmally since 2015,” she added.
Hontiveros mentioned anew the 2017 RTVM footage which showed Duterte was apparently meeting the officials of Pharmally. Seen on the video was Yang and Senator Bong Go, who was then the special assistant to the President.
“Is there more to this story than what the President is leading us to believe? Ito ba ang dahilan kung bakit kahapon, hindi napigilan ni Presidente na ipinagtanggol ang businessman na si Michael Yang?” she asked.
(Is this the reason why yesterday, the President has defended the businessman, Michael Yang?)
Hontiveros believes that more information will show the bigger story behind the alleged overpriced procurement of face masks and face shields in 2020.
GMA News Online has reached out to presidential spokesperson Harry Roque for his comment on Hontiveros' statements, but he has yet to respond as of posting time.
In his latest public address aired Tuesday morning, Duterte defended Yang as the Senate digs deeper into the controversy involving allegedly overpriced face masks and face shields procured by the DBM-PS.
Senator Panfilo Lacson believes that the President is hurling insults against members of the Senate because the chief executive is already in “panic mode” over the Senate’s investigation into the controversial deal with Pharmally.
The Senate blue ribbon committee has already issued subpoenas against Pharmally officials and Yang.
According to the staff of the blue ribbon committee, the subpoena was already received by Yang. However, the subpoenas were not served to the Pharmally officials as they gave wrong addresses. —KG/KBK, GMA News