By Genalyn Kabiling
The government will run after Davao-based businessman Michael Yang and put him behind bars if it is true he was involved in the illegal drug trade, Malacañang declared Tuesday.
“Charges will be filed against him if that is validated,” Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said during a Palace press briefing after a former police official linked Yang, a former adviser of the President, to the narcotics trade.
“Just like the way he (President 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 lethal violence,” he said.
Panelo assured the public that President Duterte would not tolerate anyone involved in drugs regardless of their relations.
“This President will not tolerate anyone regardless of the stature or relationship with him if he is involved in drugs. He will never allow it. He is against it,” he said.
Dismissed police official Eduardo Acierto recently accused Yang of alleged involvement in the illegal drug trade. Acierto, who previously connected with the PNP Drug Enforcement Group, claimed he submitted a report on the matter to his superiors but President Duterte and former police chief Ronald dela Rosa allegedly dismissed the report.
Panelo, however, defended anew Yang from drug allegations, saying Acierto was probably implicating others after he himself was linked to the drug trade.
“Obviously, the motive is – since he has been accused of involvement in drugs, he wants to get back, that’s why he is pointing fingers at whoever,” he said.
But the Palace official recognized that law enforcement authorities should “do something about it” following Acierto’s recent allegations.
“The burden would fall on the law enforcement agencies. If they received reports on alleged activities of a particular person, then they should do something about it,” he said.
Asked if the President still trusts Yang, Panelo said: “Unless you can show proof that he is involved, the trust and confidence remains.”
“Common sense will tell us that he is not involved, according to the President, (Chinese) Ambassador Zhao (Jianhua) slept in the house of Michael Yang. And we all know that the Chinese government is against illegal drugs, and the Ambassador will never associate himself with anyone involved in drugs,” he said.
Last year, the President cleared Yang, owner of the Davao City Los Amigos stores, of any involvement in the narcotics trade. He argued that that Yang’s relations with some Chinese government officials indicated he was not involved in drugs.
The Palace previously confirmed that Yan serves as one of the President’s advisers with an annual one-peso compensation.
At present, Yang was apparently no longer an adviser of the President.
“Mr. Michael Yang’s One Peso per annum contract expired on December 31, 2018,” Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea said in a text message to reporters.