Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has urged former Police Senior Supt. Eduardo Acierto to make public his intelligence report about the alleged links of Chinese businessman and presidential economic adviser Michael Yang into illegal drug trade.
De Lima, the staunchest critic of the administration’s war on drugs, said the written document submitted by Acierto to the authorities that reached Mr. Duterte in 2017 should be made available for public scrutiny and validation of the information.
“Almost three years since he launched his anti-narcotics campaign, Duterte still failed to apprehend big-time drug users and pushers who continue to profit from illegal activities, while he persistently targets the poor. Ito nga kaya ay dahil si Pangulong Duterte mismo ang Number 1 drug lord o protector ng mga drug lords sa bansa?” De Lima asked.
“The intel report of Acierto, if publicized and verified, will raise questions as to Duterte’s real involvement in the drug trade in the country. Kasi kung malinis talaga si Mr. Duterte, bakit naduduwag siyang paimbestigahan si Yang at ang kasabwat nito? Nakikinabang ba siya sa ‘drug business’ o siya ba ang totoong mastermind,” she added.
Acierto, former deputy director for administration of the PNP Drug Enforcement Group (DEG), has come out from hiding to reveal that Yang and another Chinese national named Allan Kim were behind the large shabu laboratory discovered in Davao City in 2004.
According to him, he submitted a confidential written report detailing the supposed links of Yang and Lim into the illegal drug trade to his superiors in the Philippine National Police, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, and to Sen. Richard Gordon and other officials from Malacañang in 2017, but no actions were done.
Acierto said he believes he earned the President’s ire for submitting intelligence report on Yang, a close friend of Duterte, that is why he was wrongly accused of being involved in the P11-billion worth of illegal drugs smuggled through magnetic lifters in 2018.
“Ang ginawa ko lang, kung tutuusin, ay nag-imbestiga ako ng mga matataas na tao na involved sa droga. Ako ngayon ang nalalagay sa alanganin at gustong ipapatay sa halagang 15 million pesos,” he said.
De Lima, a former justice secretary, said Acierto’s intel report is a public interest matter because not only did it link a prominent personality connected to Mr. Duterte in illegal drug trade but it also places big doubts as to the real purpose of the government’s war on drugs.
“Tila napakadali kay Mr. Duterte na balewalain ang intel report ni Acierto kasi mukhang nakikinabang siya sa ‘drug war’ na ginawa ng negosyo ng mga taong halang ang bituka,” she said.
“He ordered the killing of small-time drug users, claiming they don’t deserve to live and breathe the same air that we breathe, while he kowtows to Chinese drug lords, disguised as regular ‘businessmen,’ and profits from their drug business,” she added.
The lady Senator from Bicol said that if Mr. Duterte is serious in fighting illegal drugs, he should seek a probe into the supposed involvement of Yang into the drug trade, if not face charges against him.
“Kung galit ka talaga sa ilegal na droga at sa drug users at pushers, patunayan mo yan ngayon Mr. Duterte, at paimbestigahan si Yang. Hindi yung puro mahihirap at walang kalaban-laban ang pinagdidiskitahan mo,” she said.
Last October, Duterte admitted he received a “dossier” identifying Yang as a “drug user or a drug pusher” – possibly in reference to Acierto’s report – and cleared Yang’s name without having the Chinese national investigated.
Recently, presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo maintained that Yang is not involved in the illegal drug trade. Questioning Yang’s appointment as the president’s economic adviser, De Lima has filed Senate Resolution No. 922 calling for a Senate probe into his appointment and determine the extent of his “official engagement” under the present Duterte administration.