Palace dares PCIJ, Sereno to file charges vs Duterte family


MALACAÑANG ON Tuesday said former chief justice Maria Lourdes P.A. Sereno and the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) “should file appropriate charges if they believe that the increases in the income of President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s family are ill-gotten wealth.” “The law requires public officials to file their Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net worth (SALN). PRRD already did that,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador S. Panelo said in a statement he forwarded to BusinessWorld via phone message on Tuesday. He added: “The law does not require the filer to explain the increases in their income, if there are. If PCIJ and (Ms.) Sereno believe that the increases are ill-gotten wealth, they should file the appropriate charges instead of nitpicking and using media to create intrigue and put him in a bad light.” Ms. Sereno has said that Mr. Duterte should explain his family’s wealth. PCIJ Executive Director Malou Mangahas, for her part, said in a statement on April 7: “PCIJ had wished only for the Dutertes to offer clear, direct, straightforward replies to our queries. Instead of blaming PCIJ for the report. The PCIJ and Ms. Sereno were sought for comment but have yet to reply as of this posting. — Arjay L. Balinbin

PDEA director denies protecting Michael Yan

PHILIPPINE DRUG Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Director General Aaron N. Aquino denied the accusation of dismissed cop Eduardo P. Acierto that he was protecting former presidential adviser Michael Yang, whom he had alleged to be linked to the illegal drug trade. “Acierto’s claim that I am a protector of Michael Yang is a blatant lie. His accusation is completely baseless. I may say that this is the work of a desperate man,” said Mr. Aquino in a statement on Monday evening. He added that he is open to any probe from other law enforcement and investigation agencies. Last week, Mr. Acierto claimed that President Rodrigo R. Duterte, together with senatorial bets Christopher T. Go and Ronald M. Dela Rosa, and Mr. Aquino are “protecting” a drug group led by Mr. Yang. The PDEA chief also said that the regional offices of his agency are still investigating Mr. Yang. “How can he say I am a protector when I initiated investigations on Michael Yang activities from Day 1 that I was told about it? In fact, until now my Regional Directors are still gathering data about Michael Yang,” he said. — Vince Angelo C. Ferreras