Palace: Michael Yang is one of Duterte’s consultants
Malacañang on Tuesday confirmed that Chinese businessman Michael Yang is one of President Rodrigo Duterte’s advisers.
“Michael Yang is just one of those advisers that the President consults on particular matters,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a Palace briefing.
Panelo then made the confirmation after a report citing records from Malacañang showed that the Palace entered into contracts with Yang, giving him the title of “Economic Adviser to the President.”
Asked if the President appointed Yang, Panelo said: “It appears from the document that I saw, signed by Secretary (Menardo) Guevarra and (Executive) Secretary (Salvador) Medialdea.”
Panelo insisted that the two Secretaries signed Yang’s contracts and not President Duterte.
Duterte earlier denied Yang was his adviser after the Chinese businessman allegedly claimed that he was the President’s economic adviser.
Panelo went on to defend Yang’s contracts, noting that Duterte needed a man like him who “has a technical love on running [a] business.”
“He (Duterte) consults him (Yang) every now and then…He has a technical love on running [a] business and also because he is Chinese, he knows a lot of people in the Chinese government. And he knows the psychology of China. On that aspect, the President needs people like him,” Panelo said.
He also dispelled concerns that Yang might use his position to influence the government’s foreign policies.
“One economic adviser cannot create policies. It’s the President who creates policies,” he stressed.
‘No legal prohibition’
Meanwhile, Guevarra insisted that there was no law prohibiting Yang to be one of Duterte’s advisers.
“There’s no legal prohibition (on the contracts). Advisory capacity lang ‘yun. The President may or may not listen to him,” Guevarra told reporters in a text message.
It was Guevarra, who was then the Senior Deputy Executive Secretar, and Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea who signed Yang’s contracts that made him Duterte’s economic adviser from January 1, 2018 to June 30, 2018 and from July 1, 2018 to December 31, 2018. /ee
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