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‘Michael Yang’ as protector of illegal POGOs? Palace: Tsismis lang ‘yan!

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By Prince Golez

“Tsismis” was how Malacañang described the allegation of a Taiwanese woman rescued from an illegal Philippine offshore gaming operations (POGO) firm that a government official named “Michael Yang” was protecting her former employers.

Coincidentally, a Chinese national also named Michael Yang once served as President Rodrigo Duterte’s economic adviser. Yang was tagged by former anti-drug operative Eduardo Acierto in the illegal drug trade in March last year.

On Thursday, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo told reporters that complaints against the POGO company should be formally lodged so her concerns can be properly addressed.

“They should file a formal complaint. Hindi naman puwedeng papadaanin nila sa media. If there is a victim, then [Senator Risa Hontiveros] should help in giving that victim justice,” said Panelo.

Last Wednesday, Hontiveros, who chairs the Senate Committee on Women, presented 23-year-old victim Lai Yu Cian who claimed that she was trafficked into the Philippines to work for a Chinese-run POGO company in Makati.

She said that she was treated like a slave by her former employers, one of whom she accused of sexually assaulting her.

Meanwhile, Panelo said the Duterte administration will run after POGOs that have tax deficiencies. The Bureau of Internal Revenue said POGOs owe the government P50 billion in unpaid taxes.

“Very clear naman si Presidente roon eh, no sacred cows in this government. You owe the government, we’ll run after you. The way he did sa Philippine Airlines… saan pa, sa Mighty Cigarette and now the water concessionaires. Lahat iyon, walang sinisino si Presidente eh, basta nagkamali ka, mayroon kang transgression, ah hindi ka palulusutin,” he also said.

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