THE son and son-in-law of President Rodrigo Duterte will attend the Senate inquiry on the illegal entry of the P6.4 billion “shabu” shipment into the country, Malacanang said on Monday.
Palace spokesman Ernesto Abella issued the statement after Senate blue ribbon committee chairman Richard Gordon said that his panel, which is currently investigating the controversy, would summon Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo “Pulong” Duterte and lawyer Manases “Mans” Carpio in the next hearing on Thursday.
“I’m sure the gentlemen (Duterte and Caprio) – as they have said – were willing to face the Senate,” Abella told reporters during a press conference.
But Abella said it would still be up to the younger Duterte and Caprio whether they would choose to answer queries or remain silent even if they would attend the investigation.
“That would be their prerogative. But they definitely said that they are willing to face [the investigation],” the Palace official said.
Gordon, in a television interview, said the younger Duterte and Carpio would be invited to attend the Senate hearing on Thursday to explain their alleged participation in the allegedly corrupt “Davao Group” within the Bureau of Customs (BOC).
“Ipapatawag natin at para matapos kaagad ‘yan dahil ako’y aalis, mayroon akong mga meeting sa ibang bansa. September 7 papatawag natin ‘yan. Hopefully, hindi naman tayo mapahiya [We will invite them so that it gets done as soon as possible because I’m leaving, I have meetings abroad. We’ll invite them on September 7. Hopefully, we won’t lose face],” Gordon said in an interview with GMA 7’s “Unang Balita”.
Gordon’s statement came a day after President Rodrigo Duterte advised his son to attend the ongoing Senate investigation but said that he could invoke his “right to silence” during the interpellation of Sen. Antonio Trillanes 4th.
“My advice to Pulong? Go there and when you are asked questions, just tell them, ‘I will not answer you, I am invoking my right of silence because since dating back to the elections, you (Senator Trillanes) have been training your guns on us [Duterte family],’” Duterte said in an interview late Saturday in Davao City.
“So for the next batches [of people]whom Trillanes want to be issued a subpoena, all you have to do is to send a letter [to the Senate telling them], ‘We are not answering your questions. I will not submit to an investigation,’” he added.
It will be recalled that during the congressional hearing into the illegal drug shipment from China, which passed through the BOC last May, self-confessed broker Mark Taguba mentioned the names of the younger Duterte and Carpio.
Taguba testified that a certain “Tita Nani” with whom he supposedly transacted with for the supposed Davao Group told him that it was backed by a “vice mayor,” alluding to Vice Mayor Duterte.
This week, Taguba, in a statement, cleared the brothers-in-law’s names and apologized for dropping their names during the inquiry.
On Saturday, Abella said there was no reason to invite Duterte and Carpio since Taguba had cleared them.