Son says Mayor Duterte’s warning to smugglers no bluff

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/07 Jan.) – Vice Mayor Paolo Z. Duterte warned smugglers operating in the city to not take lightly his mayor-father’s threat he would kill them if they got caught.

“Watch out,” the younger Duterte told smugglers.

In his weekly Pulong-Pulong ni Pulong media forum at the Sangguniang Panlungsod, the vice mayor said City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte’s threat to “kill” smugglers were not unfounded, as the elder Duterte “is a man of his word.”

“Kung ako pa ninyo, pagbantay mo. Undangi na inyong kabuang (If I were you, watch out. Stop your misdeed),” the vice mayor said.

Mayor Duterte warned smugglers during his weekly Gikan sa Masa Para sa Masa television show that he would “kill” smugglers in the city.

In a briefing with media, the mayor said the national government, including the Bureau of Internal Revenue, had personally asked him to do something about alleged smuggling operations in Davao.

“We’re bound by the request of the national government. I was given a specific order,” he said.

The mayor said that he would insist on his rights to visit warehouses suspected of smuggling goods, especially rice.

“You must remember that when the goods leave the customs zone, they can no longer be hailed by the NBI and the CIDG,” he said. “That is the practice, para walang gulo (to avoid confusion).”

But Duterte said he would go against the practice.

The mayor said he would ask the city’s highway patrols and Task Force Davao to place checkpoints in the city.

“I will check who sign the release forms for the goods, and I will personally arrest you,” he added.

The younger Duterte told reporters that he had been told that the practice has been in place for years already. “The problem lies in the Customs Bureau,” he said.

The vice mayor said that smugglers were not only dealing with container vans but “shiploads” of goods from as far as Cagayan de Oro, Cebu, and General Santos cities.

Asked whether the city needed more laws to fight smuggling, he said the problem was with the implementation of the laws, as well as the necessary background checks of people involved.

“The NBI and other agencies should look at income and inventories of rice importers,” he said.

“For example, when you have been known to be driving a cheap car and then a year later driving an SUV, something is fishy. The investigators should look into that, as well as the lifestyles of these people,” he added. (MindaNews)