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Duterte defends Michael Yang amid overpricing issue hounding DBM

President Rodrigo Duterte has defended Chinese businessman Michael Yang, whose name is being dragged into the controversy involving allegedly overpriced face masks and face shields procured by the Department of Budget and Management.

"Michael Yang has been in business for 20 years, he started in Davao. Hindi iyan ang Instik na kinukunan ko ng pera [I don't get money from him]," Duterte said in a taped address aired on Tuesday morning.

In a Senate hearing last week, Senator Richard Gordon played an RTVM footage showing Yang and Duterte having a meeting with Pharmally officials, the company being linked to the overpricing controversy.

Yang formerly served as presidential adviser on economic affairs.

Duterte, during his taped address, also defended Chinese suppliers getting  contracts amid the pandemic, and pointed out that he was in touch with Yang and other Chinese business people.

"I thought we are inviting investors? That is why I went to China several times, for them to come and help us," he said.

Duterte also slammed dismissed Police Colonel Eduardo Acierto, who first linked him to Yang and accused them of being involved in the illegal drug trade. —KBK, GMA New