De Lima renews call to investigate Yang, his links to drug trade and influence over Duterte

De Lima renews call to investigate Yang, his links to drug trade and influence over Duterte

By Ernie Reyes

MANILA — Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima renewed calls to
investigate former presidential economic adviser Michael Yang and his
influence and connection to President Duterte, especially now that the
former is the subject of a Senate probe.

De Lima, social justice and human rights champion, also underscored
the need to find out the benefits that Duterte is getting from his
questionable relationship with Yang.

“Ngayon na humaharap na sa Senado si Michael Yang, dapat mahalungkat
ang tunay na pagkatao niya at ang lawak o saklaw ng kanyang relasyon,
koneksyon at impluwensya kay Duterte,” she said in her Dispatch from
Crame No. 1146.

“Sa panig naman ni Duterte, ano ang kapalit ng mga pabor na naibigay
niya kay Michael Yang o sa mga nailapit nito sa kanya? Ano ang kapalit
ng pakikipagkaibigan nya sa isang taong may kahina-hinalang karakter
at reputasyon?”

“Kapag mahalungkat na ang katotohanan sa mga usaping ito, sigurado ako
na malaki ang magiging mga pananagutan ni Duterte,” she added.

The September 10 Senate hearing revealed that Yang is the financier
and guarantor of the controversial Pharmally Pharmaceutical
Corporation, which has bagged over P8.68 billion worth of government
contracts, including the purchase of allegedly overpriced medical
supplies for COVID-19.

Prior to this, in 2019, dismissed police officer Eduardo Acierto
linked Yang to the illegal drug trade, along with his business
partners Allan Lim (aka Huen Li Gen or Ayong) and Johnson Chua (aka
Chung Nga Way or Greg Sia) is based in Macau.

“Sinabi ni Acierto na yung intelligence report tungkol dito ay hindi
pinansin ng mga kinauukulang opisyal, kasama na si Duterte, na sa
halip ay pinagtanggol pa si Michael Yang,” De Lima recalled.

“Dahil dyan, walang imbestigasyon na isinagawa sa Acierto exposé ang
kahit ano mang ahensya – PNP, PDEA, NBI – at pati na ang Senado, sa
kabila ng Resolusyon (P.S. Res. No. 1033) na aking inihain noong Marso
2019, na humihingi ng pagsisiyasat sa alleged drug links ni Michael
Yang. Nai-refer ang Resolusyon na ito sa isang Komite, ngunit walang
naganap na mga pagdinig. Hindi pinansin,” she added.

It may be recalled that Mr. Duterte, who has recently come to the
defense of Pharmally and Yang was also quick to defend the Chinese
national in 2019 from any drug involvement, saying that the latter was
a legitimate businessman who helped create local jobs.

Under De Lima’s PSR No. 1033, De Lima also urged Congress to look into
whether Yang’s special position as then economic adviser to Duterte
may have been abused for personal benefit.

“Gusto ko ring malaman kung ano ang naging papel ni Michael Yang sa
mga loan agreements na nilagdaan ng Pilipinas at China noong 2018 o
panahon ng panunungkulan ni Michael Yang bilang Presidential Economic
Adviser. Isa rito ay yung P4.3 billion Chico River Pump Irrigation
Project na, ayon sa ilang mga sektor, ay isang “onerous, one-sided” na
transaksyon,” she said.

“Ang tanong ko noon, at ngayon – Tama ba na binigyan ang
isang dayuhan ng ganyang pwesto sa pinakamataas na opisina sa
gobyerno? Tama ba na ang dayuhang ito, isang Tsino, ay may ganyang
access sa Pangulo, sa gitna ng maselang usapin ng pang-aagaw teritoryo
ng China sa West Philippine Sea?” she asked.

The lady Senator from Bicol said that it is clear that Duterte’s
campaign against corruption is just as fake as his war on drugs.

“Hindi lang ICC case ang kakaharapin ni Duterte kundi pati na rin ang
mga patong-patong na anti-graft at plunder cases. Ready ka na sigurong
tumakas sa China, Mr. Duterte,” said she. (ai/mtvn)

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