By Aaron Recuenco
The Philippine National Police (PNP) has started validating the intelligence report provided by dismissed police colonel Eduardo Acierto which identified two businessmen allegedly close to President Duterte as involved in the smuggling of shabu in the country.
This, despite the statement of both President Duterte and Malacanang officials, clearing former presidential adviser on economic affairs Michael Yang from any involvement in illegal drug trade.
PNP chief Police General Oscar Albayalde said that there was no harm in taking a look at the allegations of Acierto on Yang and another businessman Allan Lim.
“The President did not stop us or did not tell us to stop our validation. There is no harm in validating. Wala naman masama doon sa mag-validate ka to boost the statement of the President and even the ambassador of China kung talagang wala naman sila kinalaman,” said Albayalde.
On Tuesday, Albayalde cleared both Yang and Lim, saying the two names were not included in their drug watchlist.
He also criticized Acierto and said that the allegations could be meant to divert the public attention away on his involvement in the smuggling of P6.4 billion worth of shabu last year.
It was recalled that Acierto drafted the report on Yang and Lim in mid-2017. The intent, he said, was to warn President Duterte against mingling with the two businessmen, who he said were always present during meetings between the President and Chinese businessmen.
Acierto was linked to the smuggling of P6.4 billion worth of shabu last year. He was dismissed from the service over the registration of more or less 1,000 AK-47 which all ended up in the hands of the Communist rebels in Mindanao.
Albayalde said that they will start the probe on the allegations of Acierto that Yang was allegedly behind the shabu laboratories that were dismantled in Davao City and Cagayan de Oro City.
“With those statements, it’s automatic that the Directorate for Intelligence to conduct information-gathering,” said Albayalde.
“It does not need a formal order,” he added.
The Chief PNP also did not dispute the background of Acierto in the anti-illegal drugs operations, saying the official spent most of his career in anti-narcotics operations.
Earlier, an irked President Duterte harshly criticized Acierto and hurled a counter-allegation that he was involved in the killing of South Korean executive Jee Ick Joo.
Joo, was kidnapped in his house in Pampanga and was taken to Camp Crame where he was strangled to death. He was taken under the guise of anti-illegal drugs operations.
Albayalde said that Acierto was the officer-in-charge of the Anti-Illegal drugs Special Operations Task Force (AIFSOTF) when the incident happened.
Acierto, for his part, admitted that he was indeed the officer-in-charge but said that it was only ministerial and he was dealing that time administrative works of the now defunct police unit.