The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) XI on Wednesday cleared President Duterte’s economic adviser Michael Yang after he was tagged by a former police officer as one of the drug lords in Davao City and Mindanao.Former senior superintendent Eduardo Acierto, who used to be with the disbanded Anti-Illegal Drugs Special Operations Task Force, claimed that the Chinese businessman in Davao City was named in the drug intelligence report he submitted to his superiors in 2017.
This, he said, led him to conclude that Duterte tolerated Yang’s alleged illicit activities.
PDEA 11 assistant regional director Behn Joseph Tesiorna, speaking in Wednesday’s AFP-PNP press conference in The Royal Mandaya Hotel, said they received a directive from PDEA Director General Aaron Aquino to investigate the allegation by Acierto.
“As per directive, our regional director (Antonio Rivera) instructed us to conduct an investigation wherein we backtracked as far as 2004,” Tesiorna said.
In 2004, six suspected drug dealers believed to be Chinese or Taiwanese were killed in an alleged shootout with anti-narcotics agents during a raid on a suspected drug laboratory in Dumoy. Around 76.8 kilos of high-grade shabu with a street value of over P152 million were also seized during the raid.
“ There was a clandestine lab in Dumoy Toril, wherein Allan Sy was involved and wife Jet Sy,” he said. “But those arrested persons, they have been convicted long before this issue. In fact, the properties confiscated was in favor of PDEA.”
He also denied the connection of Allan Sy and Michael Yang. “I just mentioned the name of Allan Sy because he was the one involved in the (clandestine) lab but I did not say that they were friends. What I’ve said is that the association of Yang is negative (no connection) in the Dumoy raid,” he added.
“Allan Sy is at large, his wife was convicted while other Chinese and a chemist were killed during that operation,” he added.
Aside from the documents they checked and the persons they interviewed, “there was never a mention of the name Michael Yang but we would like also to emphasize that the Chinese community in the city is quite small.”
Tesiorna doesn’t discount the possibility that Yang might have known some of the Chinese nationals who are involved in illegal drugs.
He said Yang is a legitimate Chinese businessman in Davao who owns DCLA, among other properties.
“I don’t know with those persons who were mentioned by Acierto in his report. I’m just wondering why if that’s true that he has information, why it is he has just divulged the information now?” Tesiorna said.
He added that they cross-checked the results of their investigation with other agencies and still they could not find Yang’s alleged links with illegal drugs.
Also, the PDEA assistant regional chief said that photos showing Yang’s close relationship with President Duterte don’t prove anything.
“In fact, those pictures show that they are company with the President. So remember it is an election period, this might be one of the reasons why Col. Acierto is trying to implicate Michael Yang as being involved in illegal drug trade,” he said.