Former narcotics agent Acierto to tell all on Michael Yang
MANILA, Philippines — Former top narcotics agent Eduardo Acierto has sent word to the Senate blue ribbon committee that he is now ready to tell all regarding the alleged drug connections of President Rodrigo Duterte’s former economic adviser Michael Yang, Sen. Richard Gordon said on Monday.
But past acrimony between Acierto, the former deputy director of the Philippine National Police’s Drug Enforcement Group who blew the whistle on Yang’s alleged drug links in 2018, and Gordon, who previously dismissed the former’s claims as hearsay, could complicate his potential testimony, as the two men traded barbs over what-could-have-beens.
“We … 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,” Gordon said in a statement.
The blue ribbon panel chaired by Gordon is investigating the government’s multibillion-peso procurement deals with the controversial Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp., of which Yang is an alleged financial backer, according to two Pharmally executives. The Chinese businessman, however, denied the claim.
Clandestine drug lab
Acierto, who had been in hiding since 2019, sent a video to the news site Rappler on Sunday in which he claimed that the Pharmally fiasco could have been avoided had Gordon acted on his intelligence report linking Yang and another person, Allan Lim, to a clandestine drug laboratory raided by the former’s unit in Davao City.
“If my report on Michael Yang and Allan Lim was not blocked, the corruption at Pharmally would not have happened. No money would have been stolen from the country,” Acierto said in the video.
“I don’t plan to hide or to escape or not to stand by my intelligence report,” he said in Filipino.
Yang has denied any connection to the drug trade and his friend, Mr. Duterte, has vouched for him on several occasions.
During the hearings, the senators sought to establish whether Allan Lim was the same person as Lin Weixiong, who was also identified as among the key personalities in the Pharmally transactions. His wife, Rose Nono Lin, told the Senate body that it was a different person.
In his statement, Gordon did not say whether his panel intended to accept Acierto’s offer to testify as a witness.
The senator took exception on Acierto’s claim that the corruption involving Pharmally would not have happened if his panel did not block the intelligence report on Yang and Lim’s alleged drug links.
“That is not accurate. No report or testimony was ever blocked from being displayed to the public,” Gordon said.
He recalled that Acierto had privately shown him some photocopies of documents linking Yang to the illegal drug operations. He said he asked Acierto to present his documents and subject them to cross-examination.
“Acierto, however, did not appear and went incommunicado,” he said.
“Given the committee’s previous experience with Acierto … we 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,” Gordon said.