MANILA, Philippines — Businesswoman Rose Nono Lin, who holds various posts in companies linked to a former presidential adviser, is only acting as a dummy for her husband Lin Wei Xiong, according to Senator Richard Gordon.
Gordon during the Senate blue ribbon committee hearing on the anomalous pandemic supply procurement on Friday made the accusations against Nono-Lin after questioning her about the operations of various companies where she is either president, treasurer, or corporate secretary.
Documents used by Gordon and the committee have shown Nono-Lin’s involvement in companies linked to Michael Yang, who is said to be a close friend and business partner of Lin Wei Xiong.
According to Gordon, he has no choice but to assume that Nono-Lin is only a dummy for Lin, as the woman appears to have no precise knowledge of the companies’ assets, operations, and transactions.
“In other words, you really are a dummy. I’ll be frank, kahit na ang asawa mo ang nagdedesisyon, you are a dummy. Tell the Filipino people not to believe that. You sign whatever they ask you to sign ‘di ba?” Gordon asked near the end of the hearing.
“Hindi po ako dummy,” Nono-Lin replied to Gordon’s previous accusation.
But the senator noted that in the case of Paili Holdings Corp. where Nono-Lin is corporate secretary, she did not have knowledge of how many cars the company has — despite documents about the company assets normally passing through her.
In reply, Nono-Lin stressed that she was aware that Paili is in possession of several cars, but she was not sure about the exact number. Gordon then countered her that even he, as concurrent chairperson of the Philippine Red Cross, knew how many ambulances and other assets the humanitarian organization has.
“Lumalabas hindi mo alam eh corporate secretary ka. Eh talagang nagpapagamit ka ng pangalan mo, ‘yon ang nagiging conclusion namin, or ako at least. Alam mo ‘yong Paili Holdings, maraming sasakyan ‘yan?” Gordon asked.
“Alam ko po may sasakyan po ang mga companies po. I’m not aware po kung how many cars meron po ang Paili. Alam ko po na may mga kotse kami Mr. Chairman, pero hindi ko po alam kung ilan na po ang bilang ng mga kotse po sa kasalukuyan po,” she answered.
When queried about the Clark Majestic World project of Paili Holdings Corporation — another company linked to Yang — Nono-Lin admitted not knowing how many buildings there were in the condominium project owned by Paili.
“Magkano na ang pumasok na investment doon, magkano na ang nagastos doon? Ilang building ba ‘yon? Tatlo?” Gordon asked.
“Mr. Chairman pagdating po sa mga finances po ng company I’m sorry po, hindi ko masasagot dahil hindi po ako ang in-charge doon at hindi po ako ang may hawak, pagpasensyahan niyo na po,” Nono-Lin replied.
When asked why she is not aware of such important details, Nono-Lin said they have delegated work to staffers whom they trust, and she to her husband who knows more about the company’s operations.
“Ang sinasabi ko, you are the corporate secretary. Ang duty ng corporate secretary eh pangalagaan lahat ng dokumento, lalo na ‘yong mga board meetings dahil bago sila mag-invest dyan sa Clark Holdings, sasabihin nila ito ipapasok nating pera dyan. Ilan na ‘ka mo ang buildings na nandoon?” Gordon asked again.
“I’m not sure po kung natapos niya po, kung ilang building po,” Nono-Lin said.
“‘You know ‘yon ang problema ko eh, hindi ka sigurado kasi actually, ginagamit lang ‘yong pangalan mo. O ba’t di mo alam?” the senator replied.
Gordon, frustrated, speculated that the reason why Nono-Lin is supposedly acting as dummy is to circumvent economic restrictions that allow foreigners, at maximum, to have shares in a company only up to 40 percent.
With Nono-Lin — a Filipino — being named to posts in a company, Gordon said that foreigners can have a greater influence by assigning their shares to a dummy.
“Alam ko po Mr. Chairman sa lahat po ng company namin ay 60-40 po,” Nono-Lin said when asked by Gordon.
“Correct. So para ma-meet ‘yon, ‘yong 60 percent, nilalagay sa pangalan ninyo, kapatid mo ba ‘yong ibang mga Nono? So may restriction ‘yan. So pagka-hindi mo mami-meet ‘yan, ilalagay sa pangalan mo para mami-meet di umano ‘yang 60 percent requirement,” Gordon answered.
Nono-Lin in response said that they consult their lawyers every time they make a move.
The names of Yang, Lin, and Nono-Lin were dragged into the Senate investigation after it was discovered that Yang had links to Pharmally, which is being accused of overpricing the pandemic supplies provided to the government.
Despite the investigation steering towards Nono-Lin, Pharmally remains at the center of the Senate’s probe on the deficiencies in DOH’s COVID-19 funds amounting to P67.32 billion.
This was after the revelation that over P8.6 billion of the funds transferred by DOH to the procuring entities like the Procuring Service of the Department of Budget and Management (PS-DBM) went to the company, despite it having a small paid-up capital of P625,000.
There are also accusations that Pharmally’s equipment were overpriced, like in the case of face masks sold at over P27 per piece in April 2020, when other companies offered a price of P13 per piece.
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