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Palace denies Duterte linked Chinese envoy to drug pusher

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By Prince Golez

President Rodrigo Duterte did not link China Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua to an alleged big-time drug pusher, Malacanang clarified on Friday.

“I think that it is very clear that what the President meant to say was: Number 1, he cannot believe that Michael Yang was involved in the drug trade; and Number 2, because he was saying that he could not believe Michael Yang is involved in the drug trade, the report that the President linked the Chinese Ambassador to a drug lord is obviously false,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque on said.

During his press briefing, Roque showed a portion of Duterte’s speech where he cleared Yang, owner of the Davao City Los Amigos stores in Mindanao, on any involvement on drug trade.

The chief executive, before the alumni of the Philippine Military Academy Wednesday, claimed that Zhao sleeps in Yang’s house. He added that the Chinese ambassador could not be fooled because he was a military man.

Roque meanwhile singled out news website Rappler for its “wrong, false, even malicious” reportage.

“I call on Rappler to be responsible and to give the profession of journalism a favor by issuing the corresponding errata and to correct its story. The story is based on a speech which we had just seen, their interpretation of what the President meant of course has absolutely no basis and it is only but proper if they have any sense of responsible journalism that they correct their story,” the spokesman said.

He added: “It is important to correct their story because their story has in turn been cited by international wire agencies and obviously because it has gone international, it would have dark consequences for the diplomatic relations between the Philippines and China.”