Yang denies loaning money to Pharmally despite testimonies

MANILA – Davao-based businessman Michael Yang on Thursday denied loaning money to Pharmally executives and said he only introduced the company to his “friends” who then donated to them money to secure government supply agreements.

Yang, former adviser to President Rodrigo Duterte, said he did not know how Pharmally Director Linconn Ong and President Huang Tzu Yen “got” what he was doing.

Huang said on September 10 that the company should borrow money from Yang to finance the purchase of face masks and RT-PCR test kits.

“We got help from Mr. Michael Yang. We borrowed money from him,” Huang said.

But the Chinese businessman said on Thursday: “Personally, I haven’t [lend money]. “

“I have already answered this question, I have already said that I introduced him to friends who made advance payments… I introduced friends to Mr. Linconn Ong who were the ones who made the payments”, he explained through an interpreter.

“It wasn’t my money, I was the one who introduced them to friends,” Yang added in Chinese.

When asked by Senate Speaker Blue Ribbon, Senator Richard Gordon, whether he accused Ong, his former interpreter, and Huang of lying under oath, he said no.

“I am not saying that they are lying or that they are liars, but maybe that is what they understood, what I did is introduce friends to help them financially”, he added.

Ong said last week that he “was not prepared” to divulge information about his dealings with Yang.

Senator Panfilo Lacson said earlier that Ong had leaked “very vital” information about Yang’s role in allegedly funding the company as part of its deals with the government.

Ong had requested an executive session to discuss this information, but then recanted.

Some senators suspect Pharmally of being favored by the government because of his ties to Yang. They also said the items sold to the government were too expensive.

Despite its lack of funds, Pharmally had cornered 8.5 billion pesos in contracts with the procurement department of the Ministry of Budget and Management (PS-DBM) between April and June 2020, Gordon said earlier.

President Rodrigo Duterte denied the existence of an overvaluation and said the agreements were flawless. He also continued to defend the officials involved.

The panel has so far recommended the filing of various charges against Pharmally agents Michael Yang and former Budget Undersecretary Christopher Lao, among others, over the allegedly abnormal transactions.

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Troy M. Hoffman