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Acierto: Ex-President Duterte wants to kill me for linking Yang, others to drugs

Former police officer Eduardo Acierto on Wednesday accused former President Duterte of issuing a kill order against him over a 2017 confidential report tracing the alleged involvement of former presidential economic adviser Michael Yang and Chinese businessman Allan Lim to the illegal drug trade.

"I had Yang and Lim, who are close friends with then President Duterte and Senator Bong Go, investigated. Myself and fellow police official Lito Perote discovered the illegal activities of Yang and Lim. Perote was abducted by armed men with bullet proof vest in Bacolod. Hindi na po makita hanggang ngayon si Perote, at malamang, patay na si Perote (Perote is still missing to this day, and he is possibly dead by now)," Acierto said.

"Matagal na po akong natatakot para sa aking buhay dahil ako ay pinapapatay ni Duterte. Sila po ay maimpluwensiya hanggang ngayon. Meron siyang kakayahan na patayin ako kahit nasa loob ako ng kulungan. This has got to stop. Tapos na ang maliligayang araw nila," Acierto added.

(I have been fearing for my life because Duterte wants me killed. They are still very influential until now. They can have me killed even if I'm inside prison. This has got to stop. Their happy days are over.)

Acierto said that he repeatedly tried to submit his intelligence report on Yang, Lim and other drug personalities covering years 2003 to 2016 to authorities, including then Philippine National Police chiefs Ronald "Bato" dela Rosa and Oscar Albayalde, as well as then Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency chiefs Aaron Aquino and Wilkins Villanueva, but to no avail.

His 2017 report, Acierto said, included Yang's alleged links to a Davao drug laboratory, the dismantling of a Cebu laboratory in Cavite back in 2003, and Yang traveling with Duterte and Senator Bong Go aboard a plane, among others.

By December 2017, Acierto said he learned that Lim was also being investigated by the police over alleged links to a kidnapping for ransom group involving Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGO).

Acierto said he also tried to bring his 2017 report to light before the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, then chaired by Senator Richard Gordon in 2018, but was also unsuccessful.

Instead, Acierto lamented that Gordon linked him to the smuggling of P6.8 billion worth of shabu using magnetic lifters.

"Therefore, Rodrigo Roa Duterte, Bong Go and Bato Dela Rosa are protecting and are integral to the security of the illegal drugs network operating in the country," Acierto said.

"They allowed the entry of large volumes of illegal drugs through our ports and supported the syndicates by defending them, targeting those who are against them and playing dumb to true justice," Acierto added.

Acierto made the same allegations linking Duterte and his allies to the illegal drug trade in 2019, but the former president's camp denied such accusations.

Lawyer Salvador Panelo, then Palace spokesman during the Duterte administration, had also said that the former president would have killed Yang if the erstwhile adviser was indeed involved in illegal drugs.

For his part, Albayalde said Acierto was a liar.

"These malicious and dubious accusations from Acierto is obviously a product of his imagination and without even a shred of evidence, Clearly, this is another attempt to smear my name and others that he named, too," Albayalde told GMA News Online in a text message.

"Acierto is a dismissed police officer because of involvement in illegal activities and nothing but a disgraced, wanted person who peddles lies and innuendo in a desperate attempt to bolster his tarnished name and credibility," Albayalde added.

Albayalde was referring to pending drug-related cases Acierto is facing, on top of the Acierto's dismissal from the police force for supposedly handing over AK-47 guns to the New People's Army.

Acierto has maintained innocence over these indictments.

"Hindi po ako protektor ng sindikato ng droga. Hindi ako kidnapper, wala akong ginugot o pina-ransom ng drug personalities," Acierto said, adding that he had consistently opposed Duterte's orders to destroy evidence such as shabu laboratories.

(I'm not a protector of drug syndicates. I'm not a kidnapper. I did not kidnap anybody for ransom upon the instruction of drug personalities.)

GMA News Online has reached out to Duterte and other personalities named by Acierto. Their responses will be posted as soon as these become available. — VDV, GMA Integrated News