PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte blasted dismissed police colonel Eduardo Acierto who claimed that former presidential adviser Michael Yang is deeply involved in the illegal drug trade.
In a speech at a ceremony in Koronadal City, South Cotabato, Duterte said that Acierto was himself involved in several crimes including the killing of South Korean businessman Jee Ick Joo.
Duterte himself cleared Yang, who owns the Davao City Los Amigos (DCLA) stores in Mindanao, of links to the illegal drug trade last October. The president once again vouched for Yang’s innocence.
“Michael Yang is always with Premier ng China, every time magpunta dito, kasama ‘yan... Papayag kaya si Michael Yang magpunta-punta dito, kaysa makasama ‘yung ambassador?” Duterte said.
The former police official claimed the President and then-PNP chief Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa ignored the supposed intelligence information about the involvement of Yang and another Chinese national Allan Lim in the narcotics business.
“Sabi niya hindi ko raw binigyan ng importansya. Bakit ko bigyan ng importansya? Kayo ang nag-imbestiga, eh di gawin niyo ang trabaho niyo,” he said.
“Alam ko siya na korap. Alam ko na siya na nag-kikidnap ng mga Chinese, pati ‘yung Koreano na pinatay doon sa Crame, siya ‘yun. T—inang itong Acierto na ‘to,” the President said.
Acierto was the officer-in-charge of the defunct PNP Anti-Illegal Drugs Group when its operative killed the South Korean businessman inside Camp Crame, Quezon City in October 2016.
Acierto was also involved in the case of billions of pesos worth of shabu hidden inside magnetic lifters seized by authorities in Manila and Cavite last year.
During his speech, Duterte urged the public not to believe in information divulged by the dismissed police official who was involved in several issues, including the anomalous issuance of AK-47 rifles that were reportedly sold to the New People’s Army (NPA).
“Huwag kayong maniwala... lalo na itong si Acierto,” Duterte said.
“Tanungin ko kaya ang military pati ang police, bakit buhay pa ‘yang p— ina. He was the guy na nag-import na ng AK-47 tapos dineliver niya sa New People’s Army. Pulis itong gagong ‘to ah,” he added.
Acierto had been hiding since October due to alleged threats to his life.
Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo earlier assured the public that the government will press charges against Yang if Acierto’s claim proved to be true.
“Just like the way he (Duterte) treats other people involved in drugs, he will go to the ends of the earth to put them behind bars. If they resist, under the law, the police officers whose lives are in danger can use violence, lethal violence,” Panelo said.
PNP chief Oscar Albayalde said on Tuesday that Yang is not included in any drug watch list nor is he a person of interest in any investigation linked to drugs.
Albayalde surmised that Acierto could be making the “indiscriminate allegations in a vain attempt to muddle” the case resulting from his alleged involvement in the multi-billion peso worth of shabu smuggled inside magnetic lifters last year.