By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
President Duterte has cleared a Davao-based Chinese businessman who was tagged as a drug pusher.
Duterte cleared the name of Michael Yang in a speech before the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) alumni in Malacañang Thursday night.
In his speech, Duterte said he is certain that Yang owns Davao City Los Amigos (DCLA) shopping center. He also said the Yang’s links to Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jinhua and Chinese Premier Le Keqiang is proof he is not involved in the drug trade.
“Ito daw si isang Michael Yang na drug addict daw. Ang ambassador ng China diyan natutulog sa bahay niya. At saka kasama ‘yan doon sa entourage ni premier of China. (They said Michael Yang is a drug addict. The Chinese ambassador sleeps in his house, he’s even part of the entourage of the Chinese Premier),” he said.
“Kasama-sama palagi ni Ambassador Zhao. Hindi mo rin maloko ‘yan military ‘yan eh. ‘Yang ambassador natin military ‘yan ng China. Kalokohan. (He’s with Ambassador Zhao who is from a military. You can’t fool him. That’s nonsense),” he added.
In a press briefing Friday, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque also cleared Yang and Zhao’s names following reports that Duterte linked the two together.
“I think it’s very clear that what the President meant to say is that number 1, he cannot believe that Michael Yang is involved in the drug trade; and number 2, because he was saying he could not believe that Michael Yang is involved in the drug trade, the report that the President linked the Chinese ambassador to a drug lord is obviously false,” Roque said.
Roque was referring to a report published by Rappler, an agency banned from entering Malacañang and covering presidential events for supposedly being foreign-owned.
The Palace said Rappler’s report is dangerous and can damage the good relationship between the Philippines and China.
“That report by Rappler is wrong, false, even malicious. It is very dangerous because it could possibly endanger the bilateral relations between the Philippines and China,” Roque said.
“I call on Rappler to be responsible, and to give the profession of journalism a favor by issuing the corresponding errata, and to correct its story,” he added.
“It’s important that they correct their story because their story has in turn been cited by international wire agencies and obviously because it has gone international, it would have dire consequences for the diplomatic relations between the Philippines and China,” he continued.
Rappler has corrected their story following the clarification from the Palace.