In this file photo, President Rodrigo Duterte is seen with his economic adviser Michael Yang and former assistant Bong Go.
Presidential photo/Toto Lozano
'Comprehensive’ probe sought into Yang’s alleged drug links
( - March 29, 2019 - 5:09pm

MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Leila de Lima asked the Senate to conduct a “comprehensive” probe into the alleged involvement of Chinese businessman Michael Yang in the country’s illegal drug trade.

In filing Senate Resolution 1033, De Lima said the proposed inquiry should look into whether Yang’s position as former economic adviser to President Rodrigo Duterte may have been abused for personal benefit and may have an impact to national security and welfare.

“A comprehensive probe into Mr. Yang’s alleged link to the illegal drug trade is imperative, as accountability must be sought given his official, high-level capacity as former presidential economic adviser,” De Lima said.

De Lima added that it is important for the upper chamber to find out the exact nature and scope of work and influence of foreign consultants such as Yang in shaping and policies of the Philippine government.

“There is a need to inquire into and demand concrete explanation into the citizenship of presidential appointees, such as Mr. Michael Yang, with the nature and scope of his work and influence over foreign and economic policy, as public office held by a foreign national is inimical to national security, public interest and welfare,” De Lima said.

Yang, whose appointment as Duterte’s economic adviser expired at the end of 2018, was alleged to be involved in the illegal narcotics trades along with a certain Allan Lim by former Senior Superintendent Eduardo Acierto.

Malacañang, however, said that Yang is not involved in the illegal drug trade.

“It has been clarified… Even the [Chinese] ambassador has cleared Michael Yang. In fact, he was telling me personally… I will never associate myself with one who is involved in drugs,” presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Monday.

Sen. Panfilo Lacson on Thursday said that it would be better if a government agency such as the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency would launch a fact-finding investigation into Acierto's claims.

“Now, isn’t it that most of those who are seeking investigation, most are opposition, Liberal Party members. From there, you could see that there is a shade of politics,” he said. — Gaea Katreena Cabico

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