Ex-cop linked to P11-B ‘shabu’ smuggling fears for life
MANILA, Philippines — Sacked Police Senior Supt. Eduardo Acierto, who went into hiding after he was tagged in the smuggling of P11 billion worth of “shabu” (crystal meth) into the country, surfaced on Sunday night, claiming his life was in danger after he informed Malacañang that two Chinese nationals close to President Rodrigo Duterte were involved in the narcotics trade.
Speaking with selected journalists on Sunday night, Acierto said he had sought protection from a religious group, which he declined to identify, late last year after the President put him on his so-called narcolist.
“If this cost me my life, then that’s OK with me. At least, I have already told you what I know. My only concern is the safety of my family,” Acierto said.
“I’m ready to die for my country … I have been in the service for 27 years. I know that this could happen to me,” he said.
Just warned Duterte
Acierto, who showed up wearing a ball cap, said he only wanted to warn the President about the activities of Chinese nationals Michael Yang, identified in news reports as a “wealthy businessman based in Davao City,” and a certain Allan Lim.
Both have been often seen attending meetings of the President with Chinese businessmen and in other official functions in Malacañang, he added.
According to Acierto, he prepared a confidential report about Yang and Lim in August 2017, which he submitted to then Philippine National Police chief Ronald dela Rosa, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) head Aaron Aquino and Police Deputy Director General Camilo Cascolan.
He said he gave copies of the report to now PNP chief Oscar Albayalde, Sen. Richard Gordon and the office of Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, hoping the government would act on his information favorably.
“I only wanted to inform them that two Chinese nationals who were always with the President have involvement in the drug trade. I thought then that the President probably did not know that,” he said.
“That’s my purpose. I tried to warn them,” Acierto continued. “But after I submitted to them my report, nothing happened. They were not even investigated.”
He also prepared a nine-minute video that detailed the supposed involvement of Yang and Lim in the operations of clandestine shabu laboratories in Davao and Cagayan de Oro cities, and their connection with alleged Chinese drug lord Johnson Chua.
“If the President was really mad about illegal drugs, why did he not order (Yang and Lim) arrested? Or even just have them investigated?” Acierto said.
“I was not remiss in providing them a detailed report,” he said. “What I just did was to investigate key people (behind the illegal drug trade). Now, it’s me whose life is in danger.”
President Duterte cleared Yang in October last year.
Speaking to members of the Philippine Military Academy Alumni Association Inc., the President said the businessman was a longtime resident of Davao City and was close to Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jinhua.
Acierto, who was dismissed from the police service over the alleged sale of AK-47 assault rifles to communist rebels, is a member of PMA Class 1989.
On Monday, the Palace cleared Yang anew, saying Zhao had vouched for the businessman.
“I don’t think Michael Yang was ever involved [in illegal drugs], otherwise he will be [on] the [narcolist] or a case had already been filed against him,” presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said.
He said he would ask Dela Rosa about Acierto’s claim that he had informed the former PNP chief about Yang and that the police had investigated the businessman.
Interestingly, Acierto’s report did not have a date indicating when it was officially turned over to the senior government officials who he said had received the documents.
The file contained two separate reports, including a two-page “memorandum” addressed to the “Chief, Philippine National Police.”
Another was a six-page “information report” based on details provided by a “confidential agent” identified only as “Panther.”
The file also contained several photos showing Lim and Yang with the President.
The two also appeared in other photos with former Special Assistant to the President Christopher “Bong” Go.
Yang was earlier embroiled in a controversy after he allegedly identified himself as “presidential adviser on economic affairs,” which the President himself had denied.
During the Malacañang event in October last year where Mr. Duterte cleared Yang, the President disclosed that he had received a “dossier” identifying the businessman as a “drug user or a drug pusher,” possibly in reference to Acierto’s report.
“Michael Yang was supposedly a drug addict. Who is Michael Yang? The ambassador of China sleeps in his house,” the President said.
The President said Yang was also a member of the entourage of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang when the foreign leader visited the Philippines last year.
“They say he’s a drug addict or drug pusher. Now, there is a dossier that will be exposed. ‘Go ahead,’ I said. ‘And you’d be surprised. The Chinese government will shock you,’” the President said in defense of Yang.
Sought for comment, Cascolan said he had indeed spoken with Acierto and that he received the confidential document from the embattled police official sometime last year.
“But I was not privy to its contents. What I know is that Acierto was able to talk to Dela Rosa about it,” Cascolan told the Inquirer.
Acierto claimed Dela Rosa did not talk to him, prompting him to seek an audience with Cascolan, who then headed the PNP Directorate for Operations, “just to air my grievance.”
Davao group contract
Asked why he decided to come out only now, Acierto claimed it was because certain people, who belonged to the “Davao group,” had put up a P15-million reward to kill him.
He did not identify who wanted to silence him, but said they could be “police officials” or “politicians.”
Acierto lamented that he was implicated in the smuggling of shabu, which was hidden in four magnetic lifters that PDEA agents seized in a warehouse in Cavite province, after he started his investigation of Yang and Lim.
He claimed he had found that Yang and Lim received P50,000 per kilogram as their share for facilitating the smuggling of shabu into the country. —With a report from Christine O. Avendaño
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