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Philippine lawmakers demand probe into claim of Duterte aide’s drug links

Lawmakers critical of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday called for a probe into a fired police official’s allegations that one of the leader’s ex-advisers was involved in the narcotics trade.

Duterte’s signature policy is an internationally-condemned crackdown on drugs that has killed thousands, and the claim has led opponents to question his intentions.
“If you really hate illegal drugs, drug users and pushers, prove it now Mr. Duterte and... investigate,” said Senator Leila De Lima, who is behind bars on charges she says are politically motivated.

The allegations surfaced this week after ex-police colonel Eduardo Acierto told reporters he alerted his superiors in 2017 to warn Duterte about the adviser.

But instead of acknowledgement of the warning, Acierto said he found himself facing accusations of involvement in the drug trade.

Duterte and other top officials have fiercely refuted the drug allegation, saying the former adviser–a Chinese businessman–has no narcotics ties and Acierto is a disgraced cop with an agenda.

Acierto was fired last year over 2015 criminal charges alleging he was among police who illegally issued licences for guns that ended up in the hands of communist rebels.


Acierto told journalists his work revealed that the ex-economic adviser to Duterte was involved in a clandestine methamphetamines laboratory that authorities raided in the southern city of Davao in 2004.

The businessman was “mainly responsible in facilitating the importation and transshipment” of the illegal drugs, according to Acierto who also presented to reporters photos of Duterte with the ex-adviser and another Chinese man he accused of drug links.

“I discovered that our president, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, is always in the company of two people with serious involvement in illegal drugs,” Acierto said.

Within a year of filing the report about the adviser, the ex-officer said he was accused of helping a large shipment of methamphetamine enter the country. He said he now lives in hiding and fears for his life.

Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency head Aaron Aquino said on Monday he received the report but he and the national police chief cleared the businessman of drug links.

On Tuesday, Duterte said he has known the former adviser–a Chinese national –since 1999. He owns retail businesses in the president’s hometown of Davao.

“What if I ask the military and the police: why is this son of a whore still alive,” Duterte said in a speech late Tuesday, referring to the ex-officer who he also branded “corrupt”. On Wednesday, opposition Senator Francis Pangilinan said he backed calls for an investigation into Acierto’s allegations.

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