MANILA -- President Rodrigo Duterte will not spare friends who are involved in the narcotics trade, senatorial candidate Christopher "Bong" Go said Saturday, as the Chief Executive's former adviser Michael Yang faced accusations of illegal drug involvement.
Former Col. Eduardo Acierto, who once headed the now-defunct police Anti-Illegal Drugs Group, recently linked Yang and a certain Allan Lim to drug trafficking.
Yang, a Chinese national, has been Duterte's friend since the early 2000s, said Go, who is a former longtime assistant of the President.
"Matagal na niyang kaibigan yun, 2002 pa yata yun eh. Nagbukas po siya (Yang) ng mall sa Davao at alam niyo, si Pangulong Duterte, very supportive yan pag negosyo mo legal, gusto mong mag-invest sa lugar, sinusportahan niya basta legal lahat," Go told reporters at a campaign rally in Pasay.
(Yang has been his friend for a long time, probably since around 2002. Yang opened a mall in Davao and you know President Duterte, he's very supportive of legal businesses, if you want to invest somewhere, he'll support it as long as everything is legal.)
But Duterte, he said, will not tolerate friends involved in illegal acts.
"Kahit na kaibigan ka niya, pag pumasok ka sa droga at pagka-dumidikit ka sa kanya, kahit kaibigan ka niya, at pag nahalata niya yun, mas delikado ka," he said.
(Even if you're his friend, if you enter the drug trade and continue being close to him, if he notices that, you'll be in greater danger.)
"Baka kayo ay ma--(you may be)," he added, making a gesture of slicing his neck with his hand.
Acierto last week said his superiors ignored his 2017 report detailing Yang's alleged drug dealings.
In a speech a day after Acierto’s revelations, Duterte told the public not to believe the former policeman, noting the latter was dismissed for his involvement in the anomalous issuance of 1,004 rifles, which ended in the hands of communist rebels.
Acierto had also been himself tagged in the drug trade. Malacañang said Tuesday he was out for revenge.
Duterte in October last year cleared Yang of any involvement in the illegal drug trade and said Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua vouched for the businessman's integrity. Around the same month, the President ordered the release of a dossier linking Acierto and other former police officials to the illegal drug trade.