Michael Yang’s no show at Senate inquiry: medical certificate issued on outskirts of Davao City

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DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / September 15) – Businessman Michael Yang, friend and former economic adviser to President Rodrigo Duterte, was not present at the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee hearing on Monday, September 13, when her doctor advised her to stay in bed for five days. due to a “hypertensive emergency,” Yang’s attorney Raymond Fortun told the committee.

Fortun said the medical certificate was issued by Dr. Jenny A. Adtoon, whom he described as “a doctor here in Davao City”.

Posted on Monday, the medical certificate indicates that Yang, 45, whose address is Ramon Magsaysay Avenue, was seen and diagnosed with “hypertensive emergency” by Adtoon, a general practitioner who passed the doctor’s license exam. two years ago. Adtoon advised Yang to rest for “5 days for the observation and monitoring of BP.”

Adtoon Clinic, according to the address given in the medical certificate, is located in the OJLC building along Datu Abeng Street in Calinan District, 30 kilometers from Magsaysay Avenue, the address given by Yang and the address of its DCLA Plaza. The clinic is also 37 kilometers from Island Village 1, where Yang and Fortun were scheduled to meet by 9:30 a.m. on Monday. The Senate hearing was scheduled for 9:30 a.m. that day.

It is not known where Yang was examined by Adtoon – in her clinic in Calinan or on Magsaysay Avenue – or if Yang was a long-time patient. Adtoon did not respond to questions from MindaNews. Her secretary told MindaNews on Tuesday afternoon that she would take the questions to the doctor. Shortly before noon on Wednesday, the secretary said she was still waiting for the doctor’s answers. No response had been sent Wednesday at 7 p.m.

Businessman Michael Yang (left) with interpreter and Chairman of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee Richard Gordon (top right) and Senator Panfilo Lacons (bottom right) during the Senate inquiry Friday, September 10, 2021. Screenshot of the Senate investigation

When Yang testified on Friday, September 10, he was at the Dusit Thani Davao Residence in Davao City, although it was not stated whether he was at the hotel or the residential condominium in the city. enclosure of the hotel.

Fortun told the committee on Monday that he and his client were “supposed to meet here at a location in Island Village 1 before 9:30 am.” one kilometer from Dusit.

Fortun did not say where his client was from, but on the way to Island Village 1, Yang “texted me, then called afterwards and told me that his blood pressure had suddenly increased and that for this reason, her doctor advised her to stay home. Apparently, because of the procedure, her health was affected. “

The committee did not ask Fortun where Yang’s “house” is and whether Yang texted him and called him through an interpreter. Yang, who has been in the country since 1999, was accompanied by an interpreter when he appeared before the committee last Friday, translating questions senators asked him into Chinese and translating Yang’s responses to the committee into English.

According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) in the United States, hypertensive urgency is “a marked increase in blood pressure without evidence of damage to target organs, such as pulmonary edema, cardiac ischemia, neurological deficits. or acute renal failure ”.

According to WebMD, hypertensive urgency “occurs when blood pressure rises” with readings “180/110 or higher … but there is no damage to the body’s organs.” Blood pressure “can be safely lowered within hours with blood medication.”

He said that hypertensive emergency is different from hypertensive emergency which is a situation where the blood pressure is “so high that organ damage can occur” and “the blood pressure must be reduced immediately to avoid imminent damage. to organs “.

“He cannot be sick forever”

Senator Richard Gordon, chairman of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, told Fortun that Yang “looked quite healthy” and reminded him that his client was still in contempt and under arrest for contempt for failing to appear earlier despite two subpoenas.

“Blood pressure goes up and down,” Gordon said, vowing not to give Yang a “free pass”. He noted that Yang is in Davao City and “feels comfortable there”.

“He can’t be sick forever,” Gordon said.

The Senate investigation continues Friday, September 17 at 10:30 a.m.

After explaining the absence of his client, Fortun told the Senate committee that “his (Yang) doctor’s name is Dr. Jenny A. Adtoon, a doctor here in Davao City. I can send you now his medical certificate duly signed by the doctor.

Adtoon was featured on the city government website on October 9, 2019 for passing the Physician Licensing Exam a month earlier. She was described in the article as a Subanen who was among the first recipients of the medical scholarship offered by the Davao City Government under the Education Benefits System Unit.

Cast of characters

Senator Risa Hontiveros had wanted to continue questioning Yang during Monday’s hearing. She said Yang is “nasa gitna her cast of characters” (central to the cast of characters “and everyone is hoping” that he can help us connect the dots “.

“There seems to be a very important point right in the middle of these issues,” she said.

She also asked if a pending departure order had been issued against Yang.

Senatorial Minority Leader Franklin Drilon suggested that the committee ask the Immigration Bureau through the Justice Department to put Yang on the immigration watch list so that “if the witness tries to leave (the country), we will be immediately informed ”.

Yang said during the September 10 hearing that his only connection to Pharmally Pharmaceuticals Corporation introduced his officials to four Chinese suppliers of personal protective equipment (PPE) but had nothing to do with their business dealings with the government. .

But Huang Tzu Yen, CEO of Singapore-based Pharmally, and Lincoln Ong, Philippine director of the company, revealed in their testimonies that Yang did more than just present them to suppliers, guaranteed them and even gave them. lends money.

Gordon said during the hearing that Yang appeared to have been involved in “virtually most of the big deal” amounting to at least 5 billion pesos out of at least 8.7 billion pesos in pandemic-related contracts awarded to Pharmally last year by the purchasing department. of the Department of Budget and Management (PS-DBM) under the direction of Under-Secretary of Budget and Head of PS-DBM Lloyd Christopher Lao of Davao City.

The Senate investigated why a company created in 2019 with a capital of just 625,000 pesos was awarded multi-billion peso contracts by the PS-DBM. The Senate investigation is based on an Audit Commission (COA) report released on August 11, pointing to “deficiencies” in the Ministry of Health’s handling of pandemic funds amounting to $ 67.3 billion. of pesos.

The COA also highlighted the 42.4 billion pesos fund for the purchase of COVID-19 supplies that was transferred to other agencies without a memorandum of understanding. In its August 16 press release, the DOH said the 42.4 billion peso fund had been transferred primarily to PS-DBM and the Philippine International Trading Corp (PITC) and that there was no need an MOA “since the items purchased – PPE, testing kits and other equipment necessary for the response to COVID-19 have been classified as supplies in common use due to the pandemic.”

In defense of Yang

President Duterte has defended Yang for the past two weeks.

In his pre-recorded “Talk to the People” aired on August 31, Duterte dismissed reports of Yang’s alleged involvement in illegal drugs. He said he had no doubts about Yang. “Bakit ako magduda? Bakit ako magsabi na drug baron sya “(Why should I doubt? Why should I say he is a drug lord?), He said, adding that the former Chinese ambassador to the Philippines was still sleeping at Yang’s house in Davao.

Yang’s name was mentioned in a 2019 report from the former chief superintendent. Eduardo Acierto, then OCI of the Philippine National Police’s illegal drugs group, claiming that Yang and a certain Allan Lim were behind a huge shabu lab discovered in Davao City in 2004. This has been denied by palace officials in 2019. Last month Wilkins Villanueva, director general of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, said Yang was not involved in the 2004 operation.

Duterte was mayor of the city of Davao in 2004.

In a speech to the PDP-Laban Cusi faction’s national convention on September 8 in San Fernando, Pampanga, Duterte said Yang was a “lang ‘yan intermediary. A Chinese who does business because we encourage everyone in the world to come to the Philippines and do business. “

“Yang is known to me, I admit it. And it is to Yang that I asked to pose – to do the – to prepare the ground or to take the steps to go to China and to conclude a new agreement and new relations… ”, declared Duterte.

In his “Talk to the People” broadcast on September 11, Duterte said he had known Yang “for 20 years na negosyante ng Davao” whom he ordered to establish contact with the Chinese (in mainland Chian). “Eh siyempre can negosyo, nakikisali, eh negosyante eh. Ano ba magawa mo? (Of course there is business, so he’s been in it, he’s a businessman. What can you do?), he said. (Carolyn O. Arguillas / MindaNews)

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