Duterte: Michael Yang is not presidential economic adviser

Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 09 2018 10:22 PM

President Rodrigo Duterte, accompanied by businessman Michael Yang (2nd from right) and members of his delegation and Chinese officials, in Beijing, China on October 19, 2016. Toto Lozano, Malacanang Photo/file

MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday denied that Davao-based businessman Michael Yang is his economic adviser.

Duterte told reporters that Yang cannot be his economic adviser “because he is Chinese.”

Yang, who owns Davao City Los Amigos stores, however, claims in his website (www.opea.com.ph) that he is the President’s economic adviser.

Another website belonging to Yang’s Philippine Full Win Group of Companies Inc. also identifies Yang, by his Chinese name Yang Hong Ming, as presidential economic adviser.

Despite Duterte’s denial of appointing Yang as economic adviser, photos posted online show that Yang enjoys access to the President.

Yang is seen in several photos during visits to the Palace, as well as in Duterte's visit to China in 2016. 

The President earlier cleared him of involvement in the illegal drug trade. He also said Yang has close ties with Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua and was once part of the entourage of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang during his visit to Manila in November last year.

ABS-CBN News has sought clarification from the Palace regarding Yang’s status in the Duterte administration but has yet to receive a response as of posting.