Former economic adviser to the president, Michael Yang Hong Ming, on Thursday called on the Supreme Court to overturn the arrest warrants and subpoenas issued against him by the Philippine Senate.
In his 46-page petition filed by attorney Raymond Parsifal A. Fortun, Mr. Yang also called on the Supreme Court to null and void the lookout bulletin issued against him by the country’s immigration service.
The Davao City-based Chinese businessman said in his petition that the Senate committee that runs the government’s multi-billion dollar business with Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp. checks, cannot force him to produce tax documents and other information about his property.
He asked the High Tribunal to instruct the Senate’s Blue Ribbon Committee not to force him to attend future hearings.
The Senate committee had previously used its power of contempt to compel Mr. Yang, who acted as Pharmally’s surety and financier, to attend its hearings. The arrest warrants against him were issued on September 7th and 10th.
The defendant Senate body acted in the treatment of information persons during its hearings “with serious abuse of discretion, which amounts to a deficiency or an overstepping of jurisdiction,” says the petition. It had judged its guests “wrongly” as “lying”, “with the slightest inconsistency and complete disregard of any explanations,” it added.
The petition also argued that the Senate had deprived Mr. Yang and other caregivers of their constitutional right to legal assistance. It claimed that such a move perpetuated a scenario “in which ‘witnesses’ face intricate / complex or vague questions and bullying or harassment that would otherwise have been avoided through timely objections from attorneys”.
In a statement hours after Mr. Yang submitted the petition, Senator Risa Hontiveros-Baraquel, one of the committee members, claimed that “the Senate’s powers of oversight are well established”.
“The evasive maneuvers and the resistance of the respondents to cooperate in our investigation are associated with high costs for the government,” she said. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza