Chinese trader a presidential adviser, Palace confirms
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)
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.