Lending money is not a crime: lawmaker defends Michael Yang

A party-list lawmaker on Wednesday came to the defense of former presidential economic adviser Michael Yang after the Blue Ribbon Senate draft report recommended the filing of charges against Yang and several others for their role in the supply contracts. billion peso supply from the government with Pharmally Pharmaceuticals Corp. .

House Good Government Committee Chairman and Diwa Rep. Mike Aglipay said the Senate’s draft blue ribbon report contained no evidence to support the charges against some of the people.

“The Senate Blue Ribbon Report provides no evidence to support the other charges. For example, Michael Yang. He is not responsible in this Pharmally case. Money is not a crime,” he said in a statement.

Pharmally has concluded at least 11 billion pesos worth of contracts with the procurement department of the Department of Budget and Management despite having paid-up capital of only 625,000 pesos in 2019.

Pharmally Chairman Huang Tzu Yen earlier told senators that the company needed to borrow money from Yang to fund the purchase of face masks and RT-PCR test kits.

“We received help from Mr. Michael Yang. We borrowed some money from him. As we were unable to finance these things, he offered to lend us some money so that we could pay We will pay it back once we get the money from the government,” he said.

The Senate Blue Ribbon Committee has recommended indictments against Health Secretary Francisco Duque III and other Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp officials. for allegedly looting public funds meant to fight the pandemic, a preliminary report revealed on Tuesday.

The Senate committee recommended charges against other key people identified in the investigation – Yang, former Undersecretary of the Budget Lloyd Christopher Lao, and Deputy Ombudsman Warren Liong, former director of the Department of Budget and purchasing management (PS-DBM).

A separate investigation by House lawmakers recommended the filing of syndicated estafa charges against several Pharmally officials, but spared Yang and Lao, saying there was not enough evidence to prosecute them.

In his statement, Aglipay rejected Senate findings that President Duterte “betrayed the public trust” for defending figures “close to him” with ties to the Pharmally deal.

“In conclusion, the decision of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee despite its differences with the lower house, we stand by our own conclusions knowing that we based our recommendation solely on testimonial and documentary evidence,” Aglipay said.

Troy M. Hoffman