Senator De Lima calls for asset freeze vs. Michael Yang, Pharmally execs after luxury cars discovered

FORMER PRESIDENTIAL ADVISER Michael Yang (left) in file photos with President Duterte, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III and former Budget undersecretary Christopher Lao (right).

By Jeanne Michael Penaranda

QUEZON CITY — Sen. Leila de Lima has urged the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) to freeze the assets of Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp. executives after the revelation that they bought luxury cars after securing over P8 billion deals with the government for medical supplies.

De Lima made the call following the revelation by Sen. Richard Gordon, chairman of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, said Pharmally executives Linconn Ong, Mohit Dargani and his sister Twinkle Dargani had at least four luxury vehicles registered under their names less than a year after the transactions.

Records from the Land Transportation Office (LTO) showed that Twinkle Dargani had a 2021 Lamborghini Urus worth P25 million registered under her name in December 2020, about 9 months since their first transaction with the PS-DBM. .

Five months later, her brother Mohit got a 2021 Porsche 911 Turbo S registered under his name. The car costs P8.5 million.

Ong registered a 2021 Porsche Carrera 4S – worth P13.5 million – in February 2021, while his 2021 Lexus RCF – worth P5.9 million – was registered after 5 months.

Gordon said Pharmally only had an initial capitalization of P599,000.

In a statement from her detention in Camp Crame, De Lima cited the “urgent need” to have their assets frozen before they have the chance to leave the country “with their plundered loot.”

“The AMLC should immediately apply for a freeze order and initiate civil forfeiture proceedings against these shameless profiteers…. That Lamborghini, that Porsche, that Lexus, are the people’s money. That is our money,” she said.

She also said the assets of former presidential adviser Michael Yang, who has been linked to Pharmally, should also be frozen.

Pharmally has supposed links to Yang’s network through one of its owners, Singaporean Huang Tzu Yen, who sits as a director in another company, along with 2 other associates of Yang.

Lawmakers are investigating government’s P8.6-billion deal with Pharmally for the supply of supposedly overpriced personal protective equipment (PPE) last year.

Sen. Panfilo Lacson, meanwhile, said the revelation on luxury cars could be used as “circumstantial evidence.”

The lawmaker, a former police chief, was also puzzled how the Pharmally executives got a lot of money in a short period of time.