For humanitarian reasons, the Senate leadership authorized last night, January 10 the release from their custody COVID-hit Twinkle Dargani, president of the controversial Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corporation.

This followed the approval by Senate President Vicente C. Sotto III of Dargani’s release after the concurrence of Senator Richard J, Gordon, chairman of the Blue Ribbon committee, Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri, and Senate Minority Leader Franklin M. Drilon.

Sotto said he and Gordon have agreed to release Twinkle Dargani to her mother, Deepa Dargani, for humanitarian reasons.

Deepa has expressed deep concern over her daughter’s deteriorating mental health condition.

Twinkle had been in detention at the Senate Office of Sergeant -at-Arms (OSAA) since November 14 on orders of the Blue Ribbon committee following her failure to submit corporate documents related to Pharmally’s multi-billion-peso contracts with the Procurement Service, Department of Budget and Management (DBM) for the delivery of COVID-related medical supplies.

Also detained by the Senate Twinkle’s brother, Mohit Dargani, and Linconn Ong, both executives of Pharmally. Both are held at the Pasay city jail.

They, too, had been cited in contempt for refusing to cooperate in the ongoing probe of the Senate blue ribbon committee into the multibillion-peso pandemic contracts that the firm bagged at the height of the COVID-19 health emergency.

Senators had questioned the PS-DBM for awarding more than P10 billion in contracts to Pharmally although it had only a P625,000 paid up capital.

Twinkle has also tested positive for the coronavirus and has been transferred to the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) but was returned to the Senate. She was swabbed for her RT-PCR test on January 6 and her results came back positive the next day. She has “very mild” symptoms.

“Her mother has promised to present her to the Senate whenever she is needed by the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee,” Sotto said.

Sotto has instructed retired Major General Rene Samonte, OSAA chief, to release Twinkle to her mother last night.

The Senate is currently under lockdown until Sunday, January 16, after at least 46 staff members tested positive for COVID-19.

Three senators who were recently infected were Sherwin T. Gatchalian, Panfilo ‘’Ping’’ M. Lacson. and Francis ‘’Kiko’’ N. Pangilinan.

Source: Manila Bulletin (