‘Bato’ says Duterte ordered him to check Yang’s possible drug links
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa on Wednesday disclosed that he was ordered by then Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte to look into drug connections of Michael Yang, but said he did not find any.
Dela Rosa served as Davao City police chief from 2012 to 2013 before being appointed by Duterte as chief of the Philippine National Police.
“I don’t want to, I don’t need to clear anybody here. Ang akin lang, just to set the record straight…ako rin mismo, during the time na nag-surface yung Michael Yang na yan doon sa Davao, I was given instructions by then Mayor Duterte na ‘bantayan mo yang tao na yan’—call it Sinophobia or what—basta sabi niya ‘bantayan mo kung involved sa droga yan, trabahuhin mo’,” the senator said during the budget hearing of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency in the Senate.
(I don’t want to, I don’t need to clear anybody here. Just to set the record straight…During the time that Michael Yang surfaced in Davao, I was given instructions by then Mayor Duterte to ‘keep an eye on that person’—call it Sinophobia or what—he told me to ‘keep an eye on him and check if he is involved in illegal drugs.)
“Meaning conduct ka ng operations kung talagang involved sa droga, but wala akong nakita during my time, wala akong nakita,” he added.
(That meant conducting operations to find out if he is really involved in drugs, but I did not see anything during my time, I saw nothing.)
Yang’s alleged involvement in the illegal drug trade surfaced anew as he was facing the scrutiny of the Senate blue ribbon committee, which is looking into the over P8.6-billion worth of government procurement contracts awarded to Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp.
Yang was first linked to the controversial procurement after a 2017 video showed him introducing Pharmally officials to Duterte in Davao City.
In one of the hearings, Pharmally president Huang Tzu Yen admitted that his firm borrowed money from Yang to help them fulfill some of the government’s medical supplies orders last year.
But Yang maintains he has no ties with Pharmally and only introduced the company to Chinese suppliers.
Earlier this week, PDEA Director General Wilkins Villanueva cleared Yang of any drug links.
The President himself also defended Yang and cleared the Chinese businessman of any involvement with the illegal drug trade.
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