MALACAñANG said Saturday there was no more need to summon presidential son Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo “Pulong” Duterte and son-in-law Atty. Manases Carpio to the Senate inquiry on the smuggling of a P6.4-billion shabu shipment from China that slipped past the Manila port.
This, after Customs broker Mark Taguba retracted and cleared them both of the smuggling allegations.
“With Mark Ruben Taguba II’s statement clearing Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte and Atty. Manases Carpio from involvement in the BoC smuggling issue, there may be no reason for the Senate investigative panel to call the two individuals to attend any hearing in Manila, although they have indicated willingness to testify,” Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said in a statement.
Abella, however, clarified the administration respected the Senate’s independence despite calls for the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee to investigate members of the President’s family on their possible involvement in the controversial shipment, which has bared deeply entrenched corruption at the BoC.
“The legislature is a co-equal branch of government, and the Executive branch respects the Senate’s independence. We trust its wisdom on this matter,” he said.
On Friday, Taguba apologized to President Rodrigo Duterte’s family, saying talk of their involvement in corruption at the Bureau of Customs was based on hearsay.
In a statement, Taguba even branded as “fake news” claims of Duterte’s and Carpio’s involvement in the shipment of illegal drugs, or the “tara” system of bribery at the Bureau of Customs.
Taguba had previously testified that the younger Duterte and Carpio, husband of the former’s sister Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, were “name-dropped” by individuals who had paid “grease money” to Customs officials for the release of shipments of illegal drugs.
On Friday, President Duterte vowed that if there were proof that members of his family were corrupt, he would step down—as long as the evidence did not come from Trillanes, whose supposed allegations he branded as “trash.”
He also defended the younger Duterte and Carpio, saying the latter was just doing his job as a lawyer.
He said if anyone could show him video of his son accepting a bribe, he would step down.
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