MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte promised to step down from office if anyone can give him an affidavit proving his eldest son, Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte, is corrupt.
“If my son was really into it or is in there, all you have to do is to produce the paper because there are two ways of evidence, oral and documentary,” said Duterte on Friday night, August 11, while talking to doctors in Davao City.
“Just give me an affidavit and I will step down as President of this Republic, and that is my commitment to you now. That is my word,” he added.
An affidavit is a written statement, confirmed by oath, which can be used as evidence in court.
Duterte stressed that even just the mention of names in a controversy points to corruption.
“Sinabi ko na ‘yan sa kanila (I told them this already), the mere mention of our names means corruption,” he said.
Duterte’s remarks came after Paolo’s name cropped up in congressional hearings about the smuggling of P6.4-billion worth of shabu from China. Customs broker Mark Taguba claimed that Paolo’s name was being name-dropped by Bureau of Customs personnel.
On Thursday, Senator Antonio Trillanes IV produced documents alleging that Paolo was involved in illegal shipments.
The documents, first released during the 2016 presidential campaign, are supposedly reports from the Presidential Anti-Smuggling Group and the National Bureau of Investigation. They state that Paolo, along with partners, smuggled sport utility vehicles (SUVs), luxury vehicles, rice, sugar, and used clothes through the Davao port.
Paolo has been linked to other crimes. In marathon Senate hearings in 2016, self-confessed hitman and Davao Death Squad member Edgar Matobato and retired cop Arthur Lascañas accused the presidential son of masterminding drug smuggling and protecting drug lords.
Before talking about his son, Duterte repeated his promise that he would not tolerate corruption in his administration.
“I made a solemn promise, a vow to the nation and to the Filipino people, that there will never be a time that I will condone graft,” he said.
Duterte has promised to fire appointees even after just getting a “whiff” of corruption.
In relation to accusations against Paolo, he has promised to file charges against his own children and the officials who connive with them in illegal activities.
Paolo Duterte himself has responded to customs broker Taguba’s claims.
“Taguba admitted that his testimony against me was based entirely on rumors. Why would we entertain or believe a hearsay?” he said in a statement on Tuesday, August 8. – Rappler.com