PANELO:Duterte not drug suspect coddler


Malacañang on Tuesday denied former police official Eduardo Acierto’s claim that President Rodrigo R. Duterte could be protecting two Chinese men allegedly involved to illegal drugs.

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Presidential Spokesman and Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo made this reaction as Acierto claimed that Duterte has been photographed with Chinese businessman Michael Yang and Allan Lim.

“The President always accommodates anyone who wants to take picture with him. Kung iyon lang ang magiging basis niya, malabo iyon (It will be a very weak claim if that is his only basis),” Panelo said in a Palace briefing.

Acierto, a dismissed deputy director for administration of the Philippine National Police (PNP) Drug Enforcement Group (DEG), also accused Duterte and former PNP chief Ronald dela Rosa of rejecting an intelligence report about Yang’s supposed link to illegal drugs and blocking further investigation.

PNP chief, Gen. Oscar Albayalde has denied receiving an intelligence report from Acierto.

“First, since I assumed office as Chief PNP in April 2018, I do not remember having received any copy of an alleged report that identified presidential adviser Michael Yang as being involved in drug activities,” Albayalde said in a press briefing on Tuesday.

“I would like to categorically debunk allegations made by dismissed police Col. Eduardo Acierto that I failed to act accordingly to an intelligence report that he purportedly submitted when he was still in the service with the defunct Anti-Illegal Drugs Special Operations Task Force,” he added.

Panelo expressed belief that Acierto’s motive was to avenge after the latter was linked to illegal drugs.

“Obviously, the motive is — since he has been accused of involvement in drugs, he wants to get back, that’s why he is pointing fingers at whoever,” Panelo said.

He reiterated that Duterte will never tolerate anyone involved in illegal drugs.

“This President will not tolerate anyone regardless of the stature or relationship with him if he is involved in drugs. He will never allow it. He is against it,” Panelo said.

Panelo said Duterte will not say anything without any basis as the latter defended Yang from Acierto’s allegations.

“Common sense will tell us that he (Yang) is not involved, according to the President, Ambassador Zhao slept in the house of Michael Yang. And we all know that the Chinese government is against illegal drugs, and the Ambassador will never associate himself with anyone involved in drugs,” Panelo said.

“The fact alone that you are an Ambassador of China, and your government is against illegal drug industry, how can you be associating yourself with somebody you know to be involved in drugs? Obviously, talagang hindi siya involved (he is not really involved). Bakit naman siya makikisama doon? (Why would he join him?),” he added.

Panelo said Duterte’s trust and confidence in Yang will remain unless there is a proof of his involvement in illegal drugs.

“There is an allegation and let the allegation be processed, investigated and then if there is a validation, then the Palace will make a move,” he said