FORMER POLICE officer Eduardo P. Acierto, who has been in hiding for three years, has challenged a Senate panel to act on his earlier intelligence report linking President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s former economic adviser Michael Yang to the country’s illegal drug trade.
In a 10-minute video posted on Facebook, Mr. Acierto appealed to the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee to make him a witness as it investigates Mr. Yang, who was implicated in the Budget department’s procurement of allegedly overpriced medical supplies.
“The real drug lords are Michael Yang and Allan Lim, along with their protectors,” Mr. Acierto said in Filipino, decrying his persecution after he moved to investigate these two personalities.
The former anti-drug cop said the Senate panel would not be investigating the government’s deals with Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp. if it had acted on his first report in 2018.
Mr. Yang has been linked to Pharmally, the government’s seemingly most favored pandemic supplier that got a bulk of government contracts. Pharmally’s executives have identified Mr. Yang as their financier and guarantor to suppliers operating in China.
Mr. Yang has dismissed claims that he and Mr. Lim had transactional relationships. The latter’s wife, however, had told senators earlier this month that the two were business partners.
In March 2019, Mr. Acierto accused the President and his former police chief, now Senator Ronald M. Dela Rosa, of blocking a potential investigation into Mr. Yang’s involvement in the illegal drug trade. He also questioned the Senate panel for failing to act on his intelligence report, which linked Mr. Yang to a drug lab that his team raided in Davao City.
Mr. Gordon said in a media statement then that “all he was saying had no evidence.”
In the same month, the Presidential Palace announced that Mr. Yang was no longer economic adviser of the President since his contract expired in Dec. 2018.
On Monday, Mr. Gordon said in a statement issued after Mr. Acierto’s video circulated online that, “No report or testimony was ever blocked from being displayed to the public.”
Given the Senate panel’s previous experience with Mr. Acierto, the senator’s office said they strongly suggest “that the former police officer execute and submit an affidavit for further scrutiny before a grant of his request to appear in this or in another investigation is given due consideration.”
Before the release of a committee report in Dec. 2018, Mr. Gordon’s office said Mr. Acierto privately showed some photocopies of documents linking Mr. Yang to illegal drug operations.
“Senator Gordon asked Acierto to present his documents and subject them to cross-examination. Acierto, however, did not appear and went incommunicado then,” it said.
“We nonetheless confirm that Acierto, through an emissary in the Senate, is now ‘more than willing’ to testify on Yang’s alleged drug involvement in the course of the current investigation on the alleged anomalous transactions on the use of the pandemic funds.” — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza