Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has sought for a Senate investigation into the appointment of foreign nationals to public office, notably of Chinese national Michael Yang who identifies himself as Mr. Duterte’s economic adviser.
De Lima filed Senate Resolution No. 922 urging the appropriate Senate committee to look into Yang’s appointment as presidential economic adviser and determine the extent of his “official engagement” under the present Duterte administration.
“The independence of the State from foreign control necessitates that the questionable citizenship of a presidential adviser be authenticated, and the nature and scope of his influence over foreign policy be fully disclosed,” she said.
Yang, also known as Yang Hong Ming, has been publicly issuing business cards which identify him as “presidential economic adviser” using the official seal of the Office of the President of the Philippines and the official logo of his firm, Full Win Company.
He has also been reported to have hosted Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano and Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade in his office as presidential economic adviser.
Last Oct. 4, Duterte revealed of Yang’s close relations with Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jianhua during his speech before the Philippine Military Academy Alumni Association. He also disclosed that Yang was part of th4e Philippine delegation to China.
“In conformity with the requirement exacted from public officers to at all times maintain allegiance and loyalty to the Philippines, there is a need to inquire into the citizenship of presidential appointees as public office held by a foreign national is inimical to the public interest and welfare,” the former justice secretary stressed.
De Lima pointed out that there is a need for the sake of public interest to determine the authenticity of Yang’s appointment as presidential economic adviser, his relationship with Mr. Duterte and the extent of his access to sensitive state information.
“More stringent penalties must be imposed upon any foreign national who willfully, knowingly and conspicuously usurps into public office,” she said.
The Senator from Bicol also proposed for more severe penalties upon foreign nationals for violation of the law that prohibits the use publicly and improperly of the official insignia of public offices, particularly the Office of the President and Office of the Vice President.