According to his legal counsel Raymond Fortun, embattled Chinese businessman Michael Yang, former economic adviser of President Rodrigo Duterte, was instructed by his doctor to stay at home owing to medical reasons.
Senator Risa Hontiveros asked if Yang was there as the Senate blue ribbon committee began its sixth hearing on the government's pandemic procurement in 2020.
But the Blue Ribbon Committee Director General Rudy Quimbo said that Yang has yet to check in for the hearing, which is being held entirely through video conference because of the epidemic.
Fortun then revealed that his client could not attend the hearing due to health reasons.
“On the way, he had texted me and then subsequently called and said that his blood pressure had suddenly shot up and for that reason… he was advised by his doctor to just stay at home. Apparently, because of the proceedings, his health has been affected,” Fortun said.
Citing the standing arrest order from the Senate against the Chinese businessman, Senator Richard Gordon, who chaired the blue ribbon panel, insisted on Yang’s attendance.
“He looks healthy enough. He is still under contempt. He is under arrest for contempt and he would have to appear. I think blood pressures go up and down,” Gordon said.
Fortun, however, said that he would provide the committee with the necessary medical certificate to back his client’s statement.
Meanwhile, Gordon told Fortun senators to anticipate Yang to participate in the session so he can “face the music” since they have a lot of questions for him.
“We’re not gonna give him a free pass, he can appear, he is not under pressure, he is in Davao where he is comfortable...That always occurs, when somebody is under investigation they come in in a wheelchair and say they cannot appear,” the senator said.
Yang allegedly lent money to Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp. to help the company complete a government contract for personal protective equipment sets (PPEs).
Despite being only a few months established and having only P625,000 in paid-up capital during the height of the epidemic last year, Pharmally was given government contracts worth over P8.6 billion.
Yang was tied to the tumultuous controversy after a video surfaced showing Yang introducing Pharmally executives to President Rodrigo Duterte in Davao City.
Ana Catalina Paje is a development journalist passionate about grassroots communication geared towards genuine social change. She also writes about showbiz, lifestyle, and all things Pinoy pride. The views expressed are her own.
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