Did Leland Yee spill beans on corruption in Philippines?

Did Leland Yee spill beans on corruption in Philippines?


I encourage anyone with 15 or 20 minutes to spare to leaf through the 137-page indictment of state Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, and his alleged accomplices in the federal criminal conspiracy case revealed Wednesday.

Yee isn’t really the central player. He wasn’t the FBI’s primary initial target. That was “Shrimp Boy,” the Chinese triad’s San Francisco boss. The indictment is like a just-the-facts version of “GoodFellas,” the Bay Area version.

Akin to the Mafia in 1970s New York, the triad appears to have its fingers in a lot of criminal pots. Yet “Shrimp Boy” doesn’t come across like an archvillain. He’s more of a Don Corleone, serving as a “judge” — his word — in internal disputes over whether particular mob-on-mob killings were justifiable. Parts of the indictment had a “Godfather” vibe — “Shrimp Boy” as benficent Marlon Brando.

But what I found or particular interest was Yee’s casual assertion that the Philippines’ government funded some of the Muslim rebel groups in the southern islands of the archipelago nation to take the heat off the central government in Manila for its corruption.

Wikipedia’s account of Muslim rebel groups in the Philippines doesn’t mention this angle, and Wikipedia is often home to cynical or conspiratorial views about government behavior. So did Yee actually make news with his assertion? Or will it be dismissed as blather from a criminal poseur, given its context?

As someone who was living in Hawaii when the Marcoses moved in, I know about the intense passions of Filipino politics. It’s going to be interesting to see how the Aquino government (the latest Aquino government) deals with this accusation of debased, manipulative, crooked government.


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