Both Senators Dick Gordon and Franklin Drilon refuted on Wednesday Senate President Vicente Sotto III’s announcement that Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corporation executives Mohit Dargani and Lincoln Ong will be released by June 3.
“No, [what Sotto said] is not true. They will be released at the end of the Congress,” said Gordon when asked about Sotto’s pronouncement.
Drilon echoed Gordon’s statement. “The power to detain them for contempt expires when 18th Congress adjourns on June 30,2022. The 3rd Regular Session of the 18th Congress adjourns on June 3,” he said.
“Note that it is the 3rd Regular Session that adjourns on June 3. But the 18th Congress itself adjourns and closes on June 30,” Drilon added.
According to Sotto, the two executives of Pharmally will be freed from Senate custody on June 3, 2022, in time for the sine die adjournment of the Senate.
Asked about Gordon and Drilon’s statements, Sotto said: “Ask the Supreme Court when is the end of Congress? To me, we end upon “adjournment sine die” as the title connotes.”
“The way it looks , the Senate comm no longer functions after June 3. But if they want June 30, it is up to them. Better ask the SC interpretation,” he added.
Ferdinand Topacio, Dargani and Ong’s lawyer, earlier thanked Sotto for his announcement, saying his clients were innocent.
“It is our fervent prayer that notwithstanding the release of our clients, the Supreme Court resolve our two pending petitions before it in a manner that will further limit the scope of the powers of the Legislature, by striking a happy balance between preserving its prerogatives as a lawmaking body, and ensuring that the exercise of such will not outrun the bounds of reason and result in sheer oppression,” Topacio said.
Gordon, who chairs the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, cited Dargani and Ong for contempt and had them detained for their refusal or failure to submit to the committee financial records of Pharmally on its more than P10-billion contract to deliver coronavirus disease 2019 medical supplies to the Procurement Service of the Department of Budget and Management. (PNA)