FOUR senators have distanced themselves from a businessman who had been identified as the alleged middleman of a Chinese trader responsible for shipping over P6.4 billion worth of illegal drugs to the Philippines in May.
Senators Risa Hontiveros, Franchis Pangilinan and Juan Miguel Zubiri stood as sponsors during Kenneth Dong’s wedding in 2013 while Senators Joel Villanueva and Hontiveros reportedly received campaign funds from him.
Dong reportedly acted as Tan’s middleman in looking for a broker who could hire a Manila-based consignee for his shipment, which turned out to be 604 kilos of “shabu” (methamphetamine hydrochloride).
Hontiveros said she first met Dong in 2012. “In 2013, I, together with fellow Senators Migz Zubiri, Kiko Pangilinan and Ralph Recto, had been invited to be sponsors at his wedding. That’s why we were all surprised when his name was mentioned in the blue ribbon hearing.”
“I consider him a friend but I don’t know what his dealings are and his business details except for his ownership of Azuki industrial weighing scales. I’ve said this before and will say this now that no one is above the law,” Zubiri said.
”My campaign manager was the one who receives all the contributions. My conscience is clear. I barely know Mr. Dong. I don’t mind inhibiting myself from the Senate probe. However, we want to know the truth. We want to find out if Mr. Dong is really involved in this and up to what extent,” Villanueva said.
Pangilinan said he would not condone wrongdoing. “We believe those wrongly accused should be absolved and those guilty be held to account regardless of who they are.”