Yang quizzed on ties with alleged drug personality

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Senators could not help but ask Michael Yang, President Duterte's former economic adviser, about his supposed links to another businessman allegedly involved in the illegal drug trade.

President Duterte signs a copy of his portrait for Michael Yang after a private meeting in Malacañan Palace on January 10, 2017. (Toto Lozano/Presidential Photo)

At the fifth hearing of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee on the Department of Health's (DOH) purchases of COVID-19-related supplies Friday, September 10, Senator Richard Gordon presented photos of Yang with a certain Allan Lim.

Lim was also in the RTVM video showing Yang introducing the executives of Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corporation to the President in Davao City in 2017.

In response, Yang said he does not know Lim, but said he knew the man in the photos as Lin Wei Xiong, whom he had known since 2013.

Gordon claimed that Lim and Lin are only one person. The person also goes by the name of Wen Li Chen.

"In fact, he was the same guy that was charged with involvement in drugs, and I can show you the charge sheet," the Blue Ribbon Committee chairman said.

Senator Risa Hontiveros also posed the same question, recalling that a certain Allan Lim or Lin Wei Xiong was tagged by dismissed anti-drug cop Eduardo Acierto in 2019 in the smuggling of illegal drugs into the Philippines.

According to the document shown by Gordon, Lim was profiled as a drug personality who leads a drug trafficking syndicate, and was allegedly involved in the "financing, facilitating the importation, transhipment and local distribution of meth and shabu" in the Philippines.

He faced a criminal case in a Cavite court, but was dismissed due to "non-observance" of protocols for marking of evidence and chain of custody. The prosecution also failed to provide "morally convincing evidence".

Yang said that he was not aware about the charges. He also told the Senate committee that the photo in Lim's profile was "very blurred and he couldn't confirm" if it was his friend.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III pointed out that the name Lin Wei Xiong was clearly stated in document.

It was at this point that Gordon flashed a news report showing a photo of Yang with Lim, as well as former presidential special assistant and now Senator Christopher "Bong" Go, and Taguig Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano in what appears to be a vacation.

Yang maintained that he only knows a person named Lin Wei Xiong, and not Lim.

According to Yang, Lin is his business partner.

The senators also inquired about Yang's links to a certain Rose Nono Lin, who Yang confirmed is the wife of Lin Wei Xiong.

Hontiveros said Rose is an incorporator of the Pharmally Biological Inc., a sister company of Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corporation, which was awarded by the government with over P8 billion in contracts to supply the medical supplies for the DOH.

She added that Rose is also an incorporator in the Full Win Group of Companies in the Philippines, which is supposedly chaired by Yang.

Hontiveros asked the Senate panel to subpoena Rose to shed light on the connection of the firms to the government's procurement of COVID-19 supplies. Gordon granted the opposition senator's motion.

Later in the hearing, Pharmally executives confirmed that Yang financed some of their purchases for the DOH.

Duterte earlier cleared Yang of any involvement in illegal drugs, saying he has known the businessman for 20 years.

Citing his friendship with the government of China, the President said he would have been tipped about Yang if the latter was really a drug lord.