FILE PHOTO: President Rodrigo Duterte greets Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua on the sidelines of the 10th Biennial National Convention and 20th Founding Anniversary Celebration of the Chinese Filipino Business Club, Inc. (CFBCI) at the Manila Hotel on February 19, 2018. | PCOO
MANILA, Philippines – Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque defended President Rodrigo Duterte over reports that the President allegedly linked a drug lord to Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jianhua.
The businessman, according to a report, was Davao-based businessman Michael Yang.
President Duterte in his speech before the Philippine Military Academy Alumni Association on Thursday (October 4) mentioned Yang who owns the Los Amigos store chain in Davao City.
The President said he was able to meet Yang at a command conference in Davao City.
“And he became close to the — to the… Kaya kapag nandiyan si ano, nandiyan ‘yan siya. I don’t I — hindi ko talaga alam ang laro niyan ha. He could be… Sabihin mo drug addict ah drug pusher… Ngayon lang ‘yan may nilabas na dose na —[Desierto?] will expose… “Go ahead,” sabi ko. And you’d be surprised, bukuhin ka ng Chinese government diyan. Eh kasama-kasama palagi ‘yang — ‘yang kasama-sama palagi ni Ambassador Zhao. Hindi mo rin maloko ‘yan military ‘yan eh. ‘Yang ambassador natin military ‘yan ng China. Kalokohan.”
During the press briefing, Roque showed a picture of the President with Yang and other Chinese businessmen taken sometime in January 2017.
“What the president meant to say is: number one he cannot believe that Michael yang is involved in the drug trade, and number 2: because he is saying that he cannot believe that Michael yang is involved in the drug trade, the report that the president linked the Chinese Ambassador to a drug lord is obviously false,” Roque said.
What the President meant was, he couldn’t think of Yang getting involved in illegal drugs because of his close ties with Ambassador Zhao.
During his speech, the Chief Executive mentioned that he actually warned Yang not to even think of entering illegal drugs trade in the country.
“Sabi ko nga doon sa command conference — sabi ko na ano, “Mag-negosyo ka dito?” Sabi ko — these are my exact words, “P***** i** mo. Do not f*** with drugs because I will bury you alive.” ‘Yun talaga ang warning ko diyan,” Duterte said. – Rosalie Coz / Marje Pelayo