Michael Yang 'not a presidential appointee'
CHINESE businessman Michael Yang is not a presidential appointee, Malacañang said on Wednesday, November 7, a day after admitting that the Chinese national was President Rodrigo Duterte's economic adviser.
"Mr. Michael Yang is not employed at the Office of the President nor does he hold a permanent position in the government. Similarly, he does not belong to the Presidential Assistant or Adviser system," Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a statement.
"Presidential advisers usually hold Cabinet rank positions with full staff complement. Mr. Yang's case is different. He is a one-peso-a-year consultant-adviser under a standard contract of service with a fixed term who simply performs advisory functions," he added.
Panelo made the clarification after he confirmed that Yang was "one of the consultants of the President."
Earlier, Duterte denied that he had appointed Yang as his economic adviser simply because the latter is "Chinese."
Panelo said Yang was merely "part of a pool of consultant-advisers" of Duterte who "cannot influence the shaping of the President's policies for the country."
"The President, therefore, did not lie as suggested by some of his critics. He is correct in saying that he did not appoint Mr. Yang as the Presidential Adviser on Economic Affairs with a Cabinet portfolio being a foreigner," he said.
"Indeed, there is no appointment to speak of in Mr. Yang's case. To reiterate, his limited authority to render services for the President is only covered by a standard contract for a fixed period which was not even signed by the latter," he added.
Section 24(2) of Republic Act (RA) 9184 allow government agencies to hire foreign consultants who are able to meet eligibility criteria and undergo public bidding.
Panelo explained that RA 9184 "does not require public bidding, but only negotiations, in the hiring of highly technical consultants for work that is highly technical or proprietary, or primarily confidential or policy determining, where trust and confidence are the primary consideration for the hiring."
"Such public bidding is not required... Such is the case of Mr. Yang," the Palace official said.
"As stated earlier, Mr. Yang has the technical know-how in running businesses. And because he is Chinese, he is familiar with a lot of people in the Chinese community and knows their psychology and culture. Aside from these, he also enjoys the trust and confidence of the President," he added.