Duterte to son Paolo: Attend Senate smuggling probe but stay 'silent'
MANILA, Philippines – Attend the Senate probe but invoke your right against self-incrimination.
President Rodrigo Duterte advised his son and Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte to invoke his ‘right to silence’ in the ongoing Senate investigation into the P6.4-billion smuggled shabu from China, where he is being implicated.
This came after opposition Senator Antonio Trillanes IV earlier moved to invite Paolo Duterte and presidential son-in-law Manases Carpio to the probe. The two are allegedly part of the so-called Davao Group, which has strong ties in the Bureau of Customs. (READ: Paolo Duterte a 'smuggler'? Trillanes releases documents anew)
“Ako, ang advice ko kay Pulong? “Punta ka doon, then pagdating mo and he questions, sabihin mo lang na, "I will not answer you, I'm invoking my right of silence kasi nung eleksyon pa, hindi pa Presidente ang tatay ko, binibira mo na kami,” Duterte said on Saturday, September 2. He was referring to the 2016 campaign when Trillanes accused him and his family of having billions in secret bank accounts.
(My advice to Pulong? Go there but when you arrive and he asks questions, just say, "I will not answe you. I'm invoking my right of silence because during the elections, when my President was still a candidate, you have been attacking us already.)
“So you might as well invoke the right to silence. When a person invokes a constitutional right, you cannot infer anything from them. Perfectly alright, and you cannot force a person [to answer],” Duterte said.
The President also slammed Trillanes’ “fishing expedition” and said the latter should be the one to find evidence to prove his claims.
“For what? You are on a fishing expedition. Kaya kung may gusto kang malaman, huwag mong kunin sa bunganga ko. Gago ka pala. ‘Di maghanap ka kung saan-saan mo hanapin. Kung totoo talaga ‘yan (If you really want to know something, don't get it from my moth. You're stupid. Find it anywhere), ” he said.
“So that is all there is to it. So why bother asking a lawyer and asking a plain citizen, or Vice Mayor for that matter, na in-assume mo na na sila publicly, ‘yun ang behind Davao group? Sino pa may gusto na magsagot sa iyo?" he added.
In past hearings, Customs broker and "fixer" Mark Ruben Taguba read text messages mentioning the name of Paolo Duterte and Carpio. Taguba also said he personally met with Paolo Duterte's friend, Davao City Councilor Nilo "Small" Abellera Jr, and "handler" Jack, and paid them P5 million. Abellera admitted meeting Taguba but denied receiving the money. (READ: Here's what else was in Taguba's text messages on Customs)
On Thursday, Trillanes and Senate blue ribbon committee chair Richard Gordon faced off after the former accused Gordon of "lawyering" for the President's family. (READ: 'Committee de absuwelto'? Gordon, Trillanes face off in smuggling probe)
Gordon rejected the motion to invite the young Duterte and Carpio and denied that he is out to shield the Chief Executive, saying he owes nothing to Duterte.
‘Senate looks cheap now’
Duterte said the Senate, a co-equal branch of government, has been cheapened because of the ongoing probe.
“Kaya, ang problema niyan (The problem now is), the processes of the Senate has been degraded, parang it looks cheap now,” Duterte said.
He also advised other resources persons to just invoke their right to silence, saying
Trillanes might be doing a ready-made affidavit which he would then force to them - the same accusation consistently thrown at the President’s men, especially on cases involving his critics.
“But sabihin lang ninyo, when the question starts pouring in, sabihin mo, “I will not answer you. Not because your charges are true, but malay ko, your questions are crafted to suit an affidavit, which you. Mag-gawa ka ng affidavit ng isang Juan dela Cruz, tapos i-suit mo, tapos i-question mo, pilitin mo ‘yung tao, “answer.” You cannot do that,” Duterte said.
(But just say, when the question starts pouting in: "I will not answer you, not because your charges are true but who knows, maybe your questions are crafted to suit an affidavit. You might make an affidavit of a certain Juan dela Cruz and then you suit it to that, you ask the question, you force the person to answer. You cannot do that.)
“Ako ang padalhan mo ng subpoena, sabihin ko, (If you send me a subpoena, all I'll say is) 'Shit.' What’s the purpose? To investigate? Kayong tatawagin (Those of you who will be called), all you have to do is to say, “No. We will not answer you. I will not answer you. I will move the right to remain silent. Period,” he said.
Should they be cited in contempt, Duterte said they have nothing to fear because he would help them.
“Kaya maniwala kayo, kasi ako abogado at ako ang Presidente ninyo, ako ang legal adviser ninyo. That is my advice to the people of the Philippines [na] huwag kayong matakot ‘yang contempt-contempt sa Senate. Wala ‘yan," the President said.
(That's why you believe me because I am a lawyer and I'm your President, your legal adviser. That is my advice to the people fo the Philippines not to be afraid of the Senate's citing in contempt. That's just nothing.)
"Pag kayo pinatawag, maghingi kayo ng tulong sa akin as President, tutulong ako. I will send lawyers. I have to say that I represent the person cited to appear, and my answer to him is, “Shut up.” Tapos,” he said.
(If you are called, just ask help from me as a President. I will help. I will send lawyers. I have to say that I represent the person cited to appear, and my answer to him is, “Shut up.” That's the end.) – Rappler.com