Ombudsman clears Paolo Duterte, Mans Carpio in P6.4-B shabu case

MANILA, Philippines – The special fact-finding panel of the Office of the Ombudsman has cleared at this early level of investigation resigned Davao City vice mayor Paolo Duterte and his brother-in-law Manases Carpio in the P6.4-billion shabu shipment case, but recommended further investigation against resigned Customs commissioner Nicanor Faeldon.

"The complaints against former Davao City vice mayor Paolo Duterte and Atty Manases Carpio were dismissed for lack of basis," the Office of the Ombudsman said on Wednesday, May 2.

Customs broker Mark Taguba said in congressional hearings that a so-called Davao Group was his connection to fast-track shipments in the Bureau of Customs (BOC). Senator Antonio Trillanes IV linked Paolo Duterte to the Davao Group. (READ: Here's what else was in Taguba's text messages on Customs)

While Paolo Duterte and Carpio were cleared, Faeldon now finds himself in a criminal investigation after earlier escaping charges at the Department of Justice (DOJ).

Investigations into graft, violation of drug policies, and usurpation of official functions will proceed against Faeldon and other customs officials. Faeldon had been reappointed by President Rodrigo Duterte as deputy administrator III of the Office of Civil Defense (OCD).

Faeldon was also freed after Senator Richard Gordon – who detained him in the Senate premises for contempt – ordered his release last March.

Gordon also cleared Paolo Duterte and Carpio, but recommended a lifestyle check on the two, according to a draft Senate committee report.

Taguba and the rest of the private individuals involved in the smuggling are on trial at the Manila Regional Trial Court (RTC).

The recommendations were issued by a special panel of fact-finding investigators assembled by Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales in November 2017.

"Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales took no part in the fact-finding investigation," the Office of the Ombudsman said.

Morales is the sister of Manases Carpio's father. Manases Carpio is married to Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte Carpio, daughter of the President.

Recommendations

Upon the recommendation of the panel, Ombudsman prosecutors will now proceed with a preliminary investigation against Faeldon and other officials.

Under their leadership at the BOC, the P6.4 billion worth of shabu managed to get past security checks, and was not seized until 3 days later in a warehouse in Valenzuela City, a long distance from the Manila port.

The following persons will be investigated for alleged violation of Section 3(e) of the graft law or causing undue injury to the government:

The following persons will be investigated for alleged violation of Section 32 of the Dangerous Drugs Act or violating regulations of the Dangerous Drugs Board, usurpation of official functions, and violation of Section 3(a) of the graft law or influencing another public official to violate the law:

The following persons will be investigated for the administrative charge of grave misconduct:

The following persons will be investigated for the administrative charge of grave misconduct and gross neglect of duty:

"The criminal and administrative charges will undergo preliminary investigation and administrative adjudication, respectively," the Office of the Ombudsman said. – Rappler.com

Lian Buan

Lian Buan covers justice and corruption for Rappler. She is interested in decisions, pleadings, audits, contracts, and other documents that establish a trail. If you have leads, email lian.buan@rappler.com or tweet @lianbuan.

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