Palace explains Duterte didn’t link Chinese Ambassador to ‘drug lord’
Malacañang on Friday clarified that President Rodrigo Duterte did not link a suspected drug pusher and user to Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jianhua during a speech in the Palace.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque made the clarifications after some “false” media reports were allegedly cited by international news agencies, which he feared could affect the bilateral relations of the Philippines and China.
Roque, during a Palace briefing, even played the video of Duterte’s speech where he claimed that Michael Yang, a Davao-based businessman, was not into the illegal drug trade.
“I think it’s very clear what the President want to say is: number one he cannot believe that Michael Yang is involved in the drug trade, and number two because he was saying that he could not believe that Michael Yang is involved in the drug trade, the report that the President linked the Chinese Ambassador to a drug lord is obviously false,” Roque said.
Roque singled out online news site Rappler for its alleged “malicious” and “dangerous” report claiming that Duterte purportedly linked Zhao to a drug lord.
“That report by Rappler is wrong, false (and) even malicious. It is also very dangerous because it could possibly endanger the bilateral relations between the Philippines and China,” he said.
Duterte’s spokesman also called on the news website “to give the profession of Journalism a favor by issuing the corresponding errata and to correct its story.”
Rappler has already corrected its story following the Palace’s clarification.
Roque went on to underscore the importance of correcting the said story for its has been cited by international wire agencies.
“Obviously because it has gone international, it would have dire consequences for the diplomatic relations between the Philippines and China,” he said.
In his speech before the Philippine Military Academy Alumni Association on Thursday night, The President said Yang joined the entourage of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang when the latter visited the country.
Duterte also indicated that Yang could not have been involved in illegal drugs due to his close ties with the Chinese Ambassador.
“Pero kung sabihin mo ‘yung Michael Yang lalabas ni… Hindi ‘yan totoo. Matagal na ‘yan sa Davao,” the President said. /kga