Senate panel wants Michael Yang expelled over tax evasion, Pharmaly ties

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MANILA — The Senate Blue Ribbon Committee has recommended the expulsion of Davao-based businessman Michael Yang, a former economic adviser to the president, for allegedly evading taxes and his ties to the Pharmally pandemic agreements.

According to the panel’s preliminary report released on Tuesday, Yang, Lin Weixiong and Qing Jin Ke should be deported because they are “undesirable foreigners”.

“It seems to be becoming clearer that his role might not be that of a mere financier; but this ‘pagador’ [paymaster] played a role in this scandal more than that of a mere financier. He refuses to tell the Committee the source of his money, the extent of his businesses and holdings, the amount of taxes he has paid,” read a Senate press release.

Yang could also face multiple charges, as recommended by the Senate Investigative Committee, for allegedly violating the following laws:

  • Anti-Corruption Law and Corrupt Practices
  • Looting Act
  • Perjury/false testimony
  • Bayanihan to cure in one act
  • Disobedience to subpoenas issued by Congress, pursuant to s. 150, Revised Penal Code

The partial report also alleged that Yang influenced the pandemic deals, just as the government favored “an unskilled and undercapitalized company” that he helped.

The Chinese businessman denied the allegations and said he only introduced “friends” to Pharmly executives to help with supply deals with PS-DBM.

But at the Dec. 21 hearing, Pharmally Chairman Huang Tzu Yen told senators that Lin Weixiong, Rose Nono Lin’s husband, had become the chief financial officer so that Yang could be assured of payment.

A separate Senate press release also alleged that Yang failed to pay his taxes while in the Philippines.

“In fact, we discovered that in almost a quarter of a century of living in the Philippines, conducting lucrative businesses, he only started paying taxes as recently as 2018, declaring an income of 288,000 Php for the year and paying a paltry amount of Php 7,600.00. “, we read in the press release on Tuesday.

“Funding Pharmally’s contracts was a surefire way to wash his money. He, for all intents and purposes, is the co-conductor of this horrible mess,” he added.

The preliminary 5-page report released to the media does not include statements.

TAXES

During the October 28, 2021 hearing, senators said Yang did not file his ITR from 2014 to 2017, citing information from the Bureau of Internal Revenue.

This was “based on verification by the district’s collection section,” the presentation read.

“ITRs from 2014 to 2017 could not be found in the records (Document Processing Division).”

But Yang paid for 7,600 pesos in taxes in 2018 on his taxable income of 208,000 pesos.

His records for 2018 and 2019, however, are “unreadable”.

The Senate panel also showed two certifications issued by the BIR office in Davao City and West Davao that Yang failed to file his ITR from 2014 to 2017.

In September, Huang admitted to borrowing money from Yang for their PS-DBM deal.

That’s why the senators alleged he could be “hosted by the mayor”, in reference to Duterte.

“He has no respect for the law… He shows arrogance during hearings, showing a lack of respect for authority,” the statement said.

“Despite decades of lucrative and peaceful residence in our country, his care is not for those who not only hospitable him, but even allowed him to amass great wealth,” he added, quoting the Blue Ribbon Committee report.

The Senate panel investigated Pharmally after records showed that the PS-DBM had since last year awarded contracts worth billions to the company which had less than a million pesos in paid-up capital.

Duterte defended the deals and said they were above board. The commission of inquiry said that because of this, the president “betrayed the public’s trust”.

Gordon said public funds wasted on anomalous deals could have been used to cover benefits for health workers battling COVID-19 on the front lines.

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