By Genalyn Kabiling
President Duterte has bared that he once threatened to “bury alive” businessman Michael Yang if he gets involved in the illegal drug trade.
The President recalled that he made the threat when Yang was just starting his business in Davao several years ago.
“Yang came here sa Davao in 1999. I thought it was during the conference he was brought by a deputy mayor, a Moro, Maranao, sabi niya magnegosyo si Yang [He said Yang wants to start a business]. I distinctly remember I said, ‘You can come here do legal business but don’t do drugs, I will bury you alive,’” Duterte said during his visit to South Cotabato last Tuesday.
Since he made such warning, the President seemed certain Yang was not involved in the drug trade.
In his speech, Duterte has defended Yang from any drug involvement as alleged by dismissed cop Eduardo Acierto, saying he was a legitimate businessman who helped create local jobs.
He insisted that Yang’s connection with top Chinese government officials also showed he was not involved in illegal drugs. “That Chinese guy, Yang, is always in the company of the Ambassador of China and every time Premier Wang of China comes, he is always a part of the entourage,” he said.
Yang served as an adviser of the President but his one-peso per annum contract expired last December.
While he cleared Yang from drug allegations, Duterte has accused Acierto of corruption and criminal involvement during his profanity-laced tirade in Koronadal City.
He explained that he ignored Acierto’s supposed intelligence report on Yang since the former cop was corrupt.
He described Acierto as a “f*cking idiot” who was allegedly involved in corruption and kidnap-for-ransom activities. He added that he wanted to know from the military and police why the former officer was still alive.
“Acierto ito ‘yung broker ng AK-47, about 1,000 pieces, inimport niya at ibinigay niya sa NPA. Tanungin ko kayong mga sundalo at pulis, bakit buhay pa ‘yang mga ‘yan? Ayaw ninyong patayin? Eh di sabihin ninyo [Acierto was the broker of the AK-47 deal, about 1,000 pieces he imported and gave to the New People’s Army. Let me ask the soldiers and policemen, why is he still alive? Why don’t you kill him? Just tell me],” he said.
Duterte threatened that he was prepared to confront Acierto, saying he was not afraid to die.
“Pag-retire ko, gisingin mo ako, tawagan mo ako, walang problema. Saan ka puntahan kitang animal ka. Hmm natatakot… Mamatay? Mamatay ang tao adre, araw-araw may namatay [When I retire, wake me up and call me. No problem. I will go to you, you animal. Afraid to die? People die everyday],” he said.
Acierto earlier identified Yang and another businessman as allegedly involved in drug smuggling in the country but the Palace and the Philippine National Police supposedly ignored his report.
Duterte, however, asked the public not to believe Acierto’s claims.