DOJ issues immigration lookout bulletin order vs Michael Yang

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 14) — The Department of Justice has issued an immigration lookout bulletin order (ILBO) against former presidential adviser on economic affairs Michael Yang.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said the ILBO against Yang was issued following a request by Sen. Richard Gordon, chair of the Blue Ribbon Committee that's investigating the government's handling of pandemic response funds — including the procurement of allegedly overpriced face masks and face shields.

Yang has been in hot water for his alleged ties to Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp., the country’s top medical supplier amid the pandemic. The company is being questioned for bagging billions of pesos in contracts despite having an initial paid-up capital of only ₱625,000, among others.

RELATED: Senators quiz Pharmally's supposed same-day delivery of 500,000 face masks 

The former presidential adviser was a no-show in Monday's Senate probe, prompting lawmakers to recommend his inclusion in the immigration watchlist. 

Lawyer Raymond Fortun, who represents Yang, acknowledged the Senate’s authority to seek the issuance of an ILBO.

“However, the same is totally unnecessary. Mr. Yang has continuously expressed his willingness to cooperate in the Senate investigation, and has no plans of leaving the country during the course thereof,” he said.

An ILBO has likewise been issued against former Budget Undersecretary Lloyd Christopher Lao and Overall Deputy Ombudsman Warren Rex Liong. Also included are Pharmally officials Huang Tzu Yen, Linconn Ong, Twinkle Dargani, Mohit Dargani, Krizle Grace Mago and Justine Garado.

An ILBO doesn’t bar an individual from leaving the country and instead directs Immigration agents to inform the DOJ should the person attempt to do so. ILBO subjects are required to seek clearance from the agency to exit the country.

It is different from a hold departure order, which can only be issued by courts. This happens when a case has already been filed.

State prosecutors request a precautionary HDO while the preliminary investigation is being conducted.

CNN Philippines senior correspondent Anjo Alimario and correspondent Eimor Santos contributed to this report.