Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp. executive Linconn Ong will no longer participate in the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee’s hearings on the government’s deals with his firm, as he invoked the Corporation Code on Tuesday.
Although Ong is detained at the Senate building in Pasay City for being evasive in previous hearings, the Blue Ribbon panel was told by committee secretary-general Rodolfo Quimbo that the Pharmally official is no longer participating in the probe.
Quoting Ong’s lawyers, Quimbo told senators that “Mr. Ong, in so far as the missing documents is concerned, stated that he is not participating anymore in this proceeding, nor is he submitting anything, reiterating their supposed rights under the Corporation Code, on confidentiality which your honor had previously ruled as not applicable to the Senate investigation.”
Sen. Richard Gordon, who chairs the committee, said any members of the company who attempt to withhold public documents in the Senate investigation could be held liable.
Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon added there is nothing in the Corporation Code that justifies Ong’s decision.
“These are matters of public interest. These are matters submitted being asked of them in relation to this inquiry. And this is in performance of our constitutional duty. And there’s nothing in the revised Corporation Code — we wrote that law — we see nothing there that would justify the invocation of those provisions,” said Drilon, also a former Justice Secretary.
Lawyer Ferdinand Topacio, who introduced himself last week as Ong’s legal counsel, had said they were “reconsidering” his client’s earlier stand to continuously cooperate with the Senate, which he called a “kangaroo forum.”
“We are reconsidering that… because this is not a fair forum. This is a kangaroo forum. The blue ribbon, not all ha? Some members of the blue ribbon committee are not out to get the truth. They’re out for blood. That’s why it’s unfair for my client if he is being used as a pawn,” Topacio said.
President Rodrigo Duterte had blasted the panel’s conduct of the hearings, calling them a “waste of time,” and also threatened to “find what’s wrong with” the lawmakers.
Pharmally’s head for regulatory affairs, Krizle Grace Mago, also attended the resumption of the Blue Ribbon hearing, even as she told
House lawmakers on Monday that her earlier admission that her employer swindled the government was made under pressure.
Pharmally’s transaction with the government was investigated after bagging billions of pesos worth of anti-pandemic supplies deal beginning last year despite having a paid-up capital of only P625,000.