DAVAO City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte and brother-in-law Manases Carpio appeared before the Senate blue ribbon committee hearing on the P6.4 billion “shabu” shipment from China on Thursday to deny allegations regarding their involvement in the illegal cargo.
“I am formally appearing in today’s proceedings. Once and for all, I now have the time to deny any and all baseless allegations thrown against me,” the son of President Rodrigo Duterte said in his opening statement.
The vice mayor said he has to take action because the baseless allegations against him have been affecting his family and his children.
“My presence here is for the Filipino people and to my fellow Davaoenos (people of Davao) to whom I serve. I am very sorry,” he said.
But the younger Duterte said that he could not answer allegations based on hearsay.
Duterte and Carpio were linked to the “shabu” shipment form China and the existing “tara” (payoff) system at the Bureau of Customs (BOC).
Carpio, for his part, also denied any knowledge in the drug shipment and insisted that he did not know alleged Customs “fixer” Mark Taguba.
“Me and my brother- in-law have been publicly crucified based on rumors and gossips. I do not know Mark Ruben Taguba and have not met him,” said Carpio.
Carpio was accused of being involved in the “operation” at the BOC after he was seen visiting the office of former Customs Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon.
Duterte’s son-in-law explained, however, that he has clients at the BOC and he has been handling cases even during the time of the previous administration.
“I am a lawyer by profession and my practice involved representing my clients in courts, including the Bureau of Customs. In fact, the case I’m working on in the BOC dates back to the administration of former President Aquino,” Carpio said.
Duterte and Carpio attended the Senate inquiry after they were summoned by Sen. Richard Gordon, chairman of the blue ribbon committee, that has been investigating the P6.4 billion “shabu” shipment and the alleged “tara (payoff) to BOC staff and officials to facilitate the release of cargo.
The inquiry eventually led to the resignation of Faeldon who was replaced by Isidro Lapena, former head of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA).
For the live coverage of the hearing, click here.