President’ son and son-in-law to attend Senate hearing on Thursday

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 5 Sept) – Presidential son Vice Mayor Paolo “Pulong” Duterte” and lawyer Manases Carpio, husband of City Mayor Sara Duterte, said they “commit to respect the invitation and attend the hearing” of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee on Thursday after being implicated in the alleged corrupt practices at the Bureau of Customs (BOC).

Paolo Duterte takes his oath as vice mayor of Davao City after the May 2016 elections. MindaNews file photo by TOTO LOZANO

The two said in a joint statement released by the City Information Office Monday that they received an invitation from the Blue Ribbon Committee to attend the hearing.

“We duly recognize the coercive powers of the Senate of the Philippines as part of the legislative branch of government and their authority to conduct an inquiry in aid of legislation,” the statement read.

Senator Antonio Trillanes IV earlier dragged the presidential son and his brother-in-law in the controversy involving the smuggling of P6.4 billion worth of shabu from China on May 24.

But last Friday, Customs fixer Mark Taguba cleared the two of their alleged involvement in the drug mess.

“I had never testified, nor will I ever testify that vice mayor Paolo Duterte and/or Atty. Manse Carpio were involved in the shipment of illegal drugs into the country. Neither have I testified, nor will I ever testified that the aforementioned individuals were involved in the ‘tara system’ that was in-place at the Bureau of Customs,” he said in a statement.

He dismissed the involvement of the two as “hearsay in nature,” as the names of the vice mayor and his brother-in-law were only mentioned by the “Tita Nannie” and “Jack”, his direct contracts with the “Davao Group.”

Taguba said: “At no time have I met either vice mayor Duterte or Atty. Carpio in person, much less discuss any illegal transaction at the Bureau of Customs with them.”

He denied that he owned the five cylinders containing 605 kilograms of shabu that were reportedly found inside the container from China.

“As I have repeatedly testified, the contents of the container (otherwise known as the packing list) which was duly certified to be correct by the Port of Xiamen under the ASEAN-China free trade agreement will reflect that it only contained general household items and not the five cylinders where the shabu was discovered,” he said. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)