MANILA, Philippines — Senator Panfilo Lacson on Thursday expressed doubt on the motive behind the recent appearance of former Police Colonel Eduardo Acierto to implicate former Presidential economic adviser, Michael Yang in illegal drug trade.
Acierto surfaced on March 24 from months-long hiding to reveal that he had submitted an intelligence report detailing Yang’s alleged drug links along with a certain Allan Lim.
The former cop claimed he submitted the report to his superiors in the Philippine National Police (PNP), Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and the Malacañang, but it was allegedly ignored.
He also released his own diagram showing Yang and Lim’s supposed connection to the Johnson Chua Drug Trafficking Syndicate.
READ: Acierto releases matrix showing Yang’s alleged drug links
In the said matrix, Yang, nicknamed the “Dragon,” was connected to Lim, a Chinese businessman who allegedly operates several clandestine drug laboratories in the country, including the one which was raided by authorities back in 2004.
But Lacson questioned Acierto’s report as part of it happened when President Rodrigo Duterte was still the Mayor of Davao City.
“What took you took so long [in revealing this now and] between 2004 na Mayor pa [ng Davao City] si President Duterte na ni sa imagination, wala namang mag-iisip na magiging Presidente? Bakit hindi mo ipinursue noon, kung ganyang (impormasyon) malakihan yan?” he asked.
(What took you so long in revealing this now and between 2004 when President Duterte was still the Mayor of Davao City? No one even imagined then that he will become the President. Why did you not pursue it when the information is very serious?)
Lacson earlier admitted to seeing the intel report and the drug matrix when Acierto was summoned to a Senate hearing in the previous year. He said he advised the dismissed cop then to provide all the details as photographs are not convincing enough to support his claims.
READ: Lacson: Gov’t should pursue probe on Acierto’s drug claims
The Senator said he was also puzzled as to why Acierto did not use the opportunity during the Senate hearing to reveal the said drug matrix.
He believes the government should pursue the investigation and verify Acierto’s drug claims.
“I would like to think na dapat gawing pormal [ang imbestigasyon] kung magkaroon man ng closure yung accusation na ginawa ni Acierto,” he said.
(I would like to think that the investigation should be made formal if ever there will be a closure on Acierto’s accusations)
Meanwhile, a resolution seeking to probe Yang’s appointment as Presidential Economic Adviser and determine the extent of his engagements under the Duterte administration has been filed by Opposition Senator Leila de Lima.
She also urged Acierto to bare the details of his intelligence report on the alleged links of several personalities in the illegal drug trade.
“The intel report of Acierto, if publicized and verified, will raise questions as to Duterte’s real involvement in the drug trade in the country,” she said.
The Senator, who is currently detained over her alleged involvement in the illegal drug trade in the New Bilibid Prison, dared Duterte to probe Yang’s alleged drug links.
“Kung galit ka talaga sa ilegal na droga at sa drug users at pushers, patunayan mo ngayon Mr. Duterte, at paimbestigahan si Yang. Hindi ‘yung puro mahihirap at walang kalaban-laban ang pinagdidiskitahan mo,” she said.
(If you really hate illegal drugs, and drug users and pushers, prove it now, Mr. Duterte, and have Yang investigated. Don’t just focus on the poor and the helpless.) – Robie de Guzman (with details from Nel Maribojoc)