Pulong, Mans to appear in Senate customs probe

FOLLOWING the advice of President Rodrigo Duterte, the presidential son and the presidential son-in-law will be attending the Senate investigation into the alleged smuggling activities at the Bureau of Customs.

 “We have received an invitation from the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee to attend the committee hearing on Thursday, September 7,” Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte and Atty. Manases Carpio said in a joint statement released by the Davao City Information Office. “We wish to inform the public that we are attending the hearing.”

 Both Duterte and Carpio, husband of Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, were invited by the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee upon the motion of Senator Antonio Trillanes IV.

 Trillanes, the president’s arch critic, said he wanted to see if the two, along with Davao City Councilor Nilo “Small” Abellera, Jr., were involved in smuggling activities at the Bureau of Customs in Davao.

 Carpio, Duterte, and Abellera were named by customs broker Mark Taguba as allegedly part of a “Davao Group” at the customs port.

 Taguba has since retracted his statement last Friday and absolved Duterte and Carpio in his accusation.

 The Senate committee, meanwhile, has asked the local government of Davao to provide them with a copy of the CCTV footage around Ponciano Street, leading to Casa de Amigos.

 According to Taguba, he and a certain “Jack” met with Abellera at the restobar to seek an audience with Vice Mayor Duterte, a statement that Abellera denied.

 Over the weekend, President Rodrigo Duterte has downplayed the act as a political terrorism on the part of Trillanes, who the President said has aimed to pin down the Dutertes as corrupt since the early days of the presidency.

 Duterte has advised the two to avail of their constitutional right to remain silent.

 Meanwhile, Mayor Carpio said she and her husband and her brother have discussed their next move, responding in an interview last week during the anniversary of the Roxas Night Market blast here.

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