THE Executive Director of Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corporation, Linconn Ong, has withdrawn Monday his request to meet senators in a closed-door session to spill further information deemed supplemental for the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee’s probe.
In a handwritten letter addressed to the panel, Ong said he declined to attend the executive session offered to him by the Senate during the last hearing on Friday, September 24—citing that his refusal is upon his new lawyer’s, Atty. Ferdinand Topacio, advice.
“To the honorable blue ribbon committee: I regret to inform you that, acting upon the advice of [my] counsel, I’m declining your kind invitation for me to participate in the executive session regarding the matter under investigation,” Ong expressed in his letter.
Topacio has belied that his client is asking for an executive session and that he will turn as a state witness for the Senate.
He further said that he will look for the blue ribbon committee’s director general Rudy Quimbo to relay their answers regarding the closed-door inquiry that was expected to happen.
Senator Panfilo Lacson, however, stressed that Ong himself has requested senators to have the conduct of the executive session which was put on record during the previous hearing.
Insisting that the Senate is being unfair, Topacio said that they will “reconsider” whether or not Ong will further cooperate on the next upcoming sessions he referred as a “kangaroo 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,” Topacio said.
“Kaya naman unfair sa kliyente ko kung siya ang gagawing pawn, gagawing sacrificial lamb para makakuha ng dugo,” he added.
Topacio likewise underscored that Ong’s rights were violated upon the legislators’ persistent order to transfer his client from Senate detention to the Pasay City Jail.
This, after senators held Ong in contempt for his evasive and changing statements on the probe of the committee into the transactions of Pharmally with the government.
“We will leave no legal remedies unavailed of, in order to protect the rights of my client. Ang Senado is not above the law. It is not immune to legal processes. It is not immune to criminal cases. The senators themselves have no immunity in case sila ay lalabag sa batas. Hindi sila immune sa batas,” Topacio lamented.
Senator Risa Hontiveros has earlier emphasized that Ong’s potential manifestation would be a “heavy” testimony in the panel’s investigation.
On the contrary, committee chair Senator Richard Gordon, claimed that the Senate does not “need” both Ong and Pharmally’s head of Regulatory Affairs Krizle Grace Mago, who previously dropped a bombshell confession about the firm’s swindling move to tamper its face shield’s expiration date.
According to Gordon, it would be Ong and Mago who would be most likely calling for the panel’s help to provide them protective custody.
Pharmally remains to be under the Senate’s investigation due to its anomalous P8.6 billion-worth of supply contracts with the Procurement Service of the Department of Budget and Management (PS-DBM) for the purchase of allegedly overpriced COVID-19 medical items.