House panel orders arrest of ex-Duterte adviser Michael Yang

THE House Committee on Dangerous Drugs on Wednesday cited businessman Michael Yang in contempt and ordered his arrest for repeatedly failing to appear before the panel to address his alleged involvement in a P3.6-billion drug bust in Mexico, Pampanga last year.

Yang, an adviser to former President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, was linked to an incorporator of Empire 999 Realty Corp., which owns the warehouse in Mexico where P3.6 billion worth of shabu was seized.

The committee, chaired by Surigao del Norte 2nd District Rep. Robert Ace Barbers, also imposed a 30-day detention at the Bicutan Jail in Taguig City on Yang, whose last recorded travel was from Manila to Dubai on May 12, 2024.

The Barbers panel cited Yang in contempt for repeatedly ignoring the committee’s invitations and the subpoena issued on June 24.

“Since he is not present, pursuant to our rules on Section 11, if I may read, the Committee may punish any person for contempt by a vote of two-thirds of the members present,” Barbers said.

With a quorum of 10 members present, which exceeds the two-thirds requirement, the committee proceeded to enforce its rules and approved a motion by Abang Lingkod Party-list Rep. Joseph Stephen Paduano.

“Citing the violation committed by Mr. Michael Yang under Section 11, Paragraph A, for refusing without legal excuse to obey summons and invitations, there is a motion to cite Mr. Michael Yang in contempt. The motion is duly seconded, and hearing no objection, the Committee is now citing Mr. Michael Yang in contempt,” Barbers announced.

To enforce the arrest warrant, Barbers tasked the committee’s secretary to coordinate with the Philippine National Police (PNP), the House Sergeant-at-Arms, the National Bureau of Investigation, and other law enforcement agencies. 

“The committee’s secretary is therefore tasked to coordinate with the PNP, the Sergeant-at-Arms, the NBI, and all other law enforcement units to effect the arrest so that they can be brought here to face this investigation in aid of legislation,” Barbers instructed.

Yang was invited to the hearing after Lincoln Ong, a Pharmally official and an alleged associate of Yang, was found to be an incorporator of a company with links to Empire 999 and other firms.

According to Barbers, Yang’s testimony is deemed crucial in unraveling the complex web of illegal drug smuggling activities linked to Empire 999.

During Wednesday’s hearing, the committee heard the testimony of former Police Colonel Eduardo Acierto, who identified Yang as the same individual he had flagged in 2017 for involvement in illegal drugs.

Acierto, a dismissed colonel who formerly worked with the PNP’s drug enforcement group, claimed that former President Duterte, then-Special Adviser to the President and now Sen. Christopher “Bong” Go, and then-PNP chief and now Sen. Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, ignored his intelligence report on Yang.

He also accused the former president of wanting him killed due to his knowledge of Duterte’s links with Yang and other individuals involved in illegal drug activities. (E

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