Chi­nese trader a pres­i­den­tial ad­viser, Palace con­firms

Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro - - Nation -

busi­ness­man Michael Yang is Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte’s eco­nomic ad­viser, Mala­cañang con­firmed Tues­day, No­vem­ber 6, con­tra­dict­ing the Chief Ex­ec­u­tive’s pre­vi­ous de­nial.

Speak­ing to Palace re­porters, Pres­i­den­tial Spokesper­son Sal­vador Panelo ad­mit­ted that Yang is “one of the con­sul­tants of the Pres­i­dent.”

“Michael Yang is just one of those ad­vis­ers that the Pres­i­dent con­sults on a par­tic­u­lar mat­ter,” Panelo said.

“He (Duterte) con­sults him (Yang) ev­ery now and then. You know, Mr. Yang is a wealthy man. He has [risen] from poor ori­gins to be­ing a wealthy man and he has tech­ni­cal know-how [on] how to run a busi­ness,” he added.

Panelo’s state­ment coun­tered Duterte’s ear­lier re­marks that Yang is not his eco­nomic ad­viser be­cause the lat­ter is “a Chi­nese.”

When told that Duterte had de­nied Yang’s ap­point­ment, Panelo said he would seek the Pres­i­dent’s clar­i­fi­ca­tion to give an “ac­cu­rate re­sponse.”

On Oc­to­ber 18, Se­na­tor Leila de Lima filed Sen­ate Res­o­lu­tion 922, urg­ing the ap­pro­pri­ate Sen­ate com­mit­tee to look into the claim of Yang, a Chi­nese na­tional also iden­ti­fied as Yang Hong Min, that he is Duterte’s eco­nomic ad­viser.

Yang has re­port­edly been hand­ing out busi­ness cards, iden­ti­fy­ing him­self as “pres­i­den­tial eco­nomic ad­viser” and bear­ing the of­fi­cial seal of the Pres­i­dent of the Philip­pines and the of­fi­cial logo of his firm, Full Win Com­pany.

De Lima sought to de­ter­mine the ex­tent of Yang’s “of­fi­cial en­gage­ment” un­der the Duterte ad­min­is­tra­tion, cit­ing the pos­si­bil­ity that the busi­ness­man has ac­cess to “sen­si­tive state in­for­ma­tion.”

Un­der Sec­tion 24(2) of Re­pub­lic Act 9184, gov­ern­ment agen­cies are al­lowed to hire for­eign con­sul­tants who are able to meet el­i­gi­bil­ity cri­te­ria and un­dergo pub­lic bid­ding.

Panelo said Duterte needs a con­sul­tant like Yang, be­cause the Chi­nese na­tional “knows a lot of peo­ple in the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment.”

Duterte has mended ties with China on the be­lief that bet­ter re­la­tions could help the Philip­pines im­prove its econ­omy.

“Be­cause he (Yang) is Chi­nese, he knows a lot of peo­ple in the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment. And he knows the psy­chol­ogy of the Chi­nese. On that as­pect, the Pres­i­dent needs peo­ple like him,” Panelo said.

Asked what tech­ni­cal ex­per­tise Yang has pro­vided to Duterte, Panelo said: “I think that’s between the Pres­i­dent and the eco­nomic ad­viser. You can­not be re­veal­ing those things.”

Panelo re­fused to fur­ther com­ment, when pressed again about Yang’s ac­cess to the coun­try’s sen­si­tive in­for­ma­tion.

He, how­ever, as­sured that Yang does not cre­ate poli­cies for the Philip­pine gov­ern­ment, since “it is the Pres­i­dent who cre­ates poli­cies.”

Quizzed how Yang ben­e­fit­ted from the Duterte ad­min­is­tra­tion, the Palace of­fi­cial said, “That’s for between him and the Pres­i­dent.” (Sun­Star Philip­pines)

(AP)

FROM LEFT; Philip­pines foot­ball ad­ver­tis­ing man­ager Jun Mi­ras, Philip­pines na­tional foot­ball team's new head coach Sven-Goran Eriks­son, team man­ager Dan Palami and foot­ball ad­viser Scott Cooper join hands dur­ing a press con­fer­ence in met­ro­pol­i­tan Manila, Philip­pines on Mon­day, Nov. 5, 2018. Erikkson, a for­mer Eng­land team man­ager, will be the head coach for the Philip­pine team in the 2018 AFF Suzuki Cup later this month and the Asian Cup next year.

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