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Yang appeals to SC to halt arrest

Michael Yang, a  former economic adviser of President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday asked the Supreme Court (SC) to stop the Senate from implementing its arrest order after he failed to appear before the Senate investigation on the multi-billion peso contracts won by Pharmally Pharmaceuticals Corp. for pandemic supplies.

In a petition, Yang through lawyer Raymond Fortun sought the nullification of the arrest order and to declare invalid the immigration lookout bulletin order (ILBO) issued by the Department of Justice through Bureau of Immigration against him.

Yang argued that the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee has acted with grave abuse of discretion when it issued the arrest orders against him despite the lack of criminal charges.

According to him, Senate also treated resource persons like him more as an accused in regular court proceedings by “unrightfully judging their guests as “lying” at the slightest hint of inconsistency while completely ignoring any explanations made.

“Acting with grave abuse of discretion amounting to a lack or excess of jurisdiction, the respondent Senate Committee had violated the petitioner’s rights to privacy by compelling him to reveal his properties, corporate papers and business transactions despite the same not having any connection to the matter in inquiry, including asking about his supposed links to illegal drugs despite the sheer absence of evidence of his engagement therein,” Yang stressed.

At the same time, he said the committee refused to recognize hiscounsel, thus exposing resource persons including him to bullying and badgering.

“Petitioner concedes the power of the respondent Senate Committee to hold a witness in contempt for testifying falsely or evasively. However, when such power is exercised with such grave abuse and, despite being confronted with the truth, refuses to believe the same, certiorari lies to reverse the effects of such abusive exercise,” he said.

Yang said such abuse of discretion left with him no other recourse to remedy the violation of his rights but to ask the SC to intervene on the matter.

He characterized the Senate inquiry as a form of “McCarthyism” in apparent reference to the controversial practices of then US Senator Joseph Mccarthy in ferreting out supposed Communist sympathizers from the late 1940’s through the 1950s

As to the ILBO, Yang said it violates his constitutional right to travel more so since there is no criminal complaint filed against him before the DOJ or the Office of the Ombudsman.

The first arrest order against Yang and five Pharmally officials-namely Mohit Dargani, Twinkle Dargani, Krizle Grace Mago, Justine Garado, and Linconn Ong- on September 7 was due to their failure to attend the Senate investigation on the issue.

The second arrest order three days later against Yang and Pharmally executive director Linconn Ong was for evading questions on the government’s purchase of allegedly overpriced personal protective equipment during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sen. Risa Hontiveros on Thursday said she stands by the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee’s arrest orders issued against Yang.

Hontiveros stressed that the oversight powers of the Senate  are well-settled in law and jurisprudence.

“The resource persons’ evasiveness and their resistance to cooperate with our investigation come at actual great cost to the government,” said Hontiveros. “It was a CPA who said they (Pharmally/ owe the government P5 billion,” recalled the opposition senator.

Yang’s lawyer Raymond Fortun said  “What is happening now is that the Senate is making it a spectacle.”

“For whatever purpose, you be the one to judge but what they’re asking (him) is no longer in aid of legislation,” he added. With Macon Ramos-Araneta

Topics: Michael Yang , President Rodrigo Duterte , Supreme Court , Senate , Pharmally Pharmaceuticals Corp.
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