Gordon invites Paolo Duterte, Mans Carpio to Senate smuggling probe
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – After initially refusing to do so, Senate blue ribbon committee chairman Richard Gordon has invited presidential son Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte and son-in-law Manases "Mans" Carpio to the Senate probe into the corruption in the Bureau of Customs (BOC).
This comes after President Rodrigo Duterte advised his son to attend the investigation but to invoke his right against self-incrimination.
"Ang abangan ninyo, pinapatawag na namin 'yung dalawa sapagkat kahit ano'ng gawin ninyo, kahit ano'ng gawin ko, sinasabi natin na hearsay, sinasabi natin na sila'y anak ng Pangulo, sila ay kamag-anak ng Pangulo, dapat ipatawag, and that is why I agree na ipatawag in the first place," Gordon said in an interview on GMA-7.
(We are already summoning the two because no matter what you do, whatever I do, we say it's hearsay, we say they're relatives of the President, and they should be summoned, and that is why I agree that we should have them called to attend.)
The committee sent letters to Paolo Duterte and Carpio on Monday, "requesting" for their presence in the next hearing on Thursday, September 7.
Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III said the investigation would now shift from the P6.4 billion worth of smuggled shabu from China to the corruption in the BOC as mentioned in Senator Panfilo Lacson's privilege speech.
Opposition Senator Antonio Trillanes IV earlier moved to invite the two, after Customs broker and "fixer" Mark Taguba read text messages implicating them in smuggling. Taguba has since changed his tune, and claimed the two are not involved in smuggling.
Trillanes' motion led to a face-off between the two senators, with Trillanes accusing Gordon of "lawyering" for the President and his family. (READ: 'Committee de absuwelto'? Gordon, Trillanes face off in smuggling probe)
Gordon earlier dismissed the allegations against Paolo Duterte and Carpio as "hearsay," but now denies rejecting the call to summon them. He also earlier denied that he is out to protect the President.
"Hindi totoo 'yung sinasabi niyang hinaharang namin (It's not true what Trillanes is saying that we are rejecting the proposal to invite Paolo Duterte and Carpio to the probe)," Gordon said.
"Well I expect them to be ... on a higher plane than ordinary citizens, na kahit konting quip, wala na akong pakialam do'n (who I wouldn't care about). Sagutin nila (They should answer the allegations)," he also said in a chance interview on Monday.
With this development, Trillanes said Gordon seems to have felt pressure from the public.
"Nakaramdam lang si Senator Gordon ng public pressure, bibigay din pala (Senator Gordon just felt public pressure that's why he gave in). Anyway, regardless [of] whether they would cooperate or not, I will be prepared to confront them on Thursday," Trillanes said in a text message to reporters.
The President has dismissed Trillanes' supposed evidence against his son and son-in-law, saying the senator has nothing but "trash."
The President has also advised resource persons who would be invited to invoke their "right of silence" and not answer questions, adding he could provide lawyers for them. – Rappler.com