MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday took the cudgels for his son-in-law after Sen. Antonio Trillanes accused Manases “Mans” Carpio of being part of the Davao Group, allegedly involved in corrupt activities at the Bureau of Customs (BOC).
The chief executive said Carpio, the husband of Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte and the nephew of Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales, is a lawyer and his office handles the cases of Mighty Corp., which imports tobacco leaves and other raw materials for its cigarette products.
“Now ito naman si Mans Carpio, ang tatay niya kapatid niya si Ombudsman Morales — Carpio-Morales. Ito, abogado ito. Long before ‘yong Mighty ano — Might King, ang office nila ang nag-handle n’yan,” the President said in his speech in Malacañang during the oath-taking of government appointees.
“At ang anak ko was lawyering for the Mighty King. S’yempre piliin mo ‘yong kliyenteng may pera,” the President said.
“Kaya sabi ko, kung hanggang diyan, okay lang, sabi ko. It’s lawyering. Nobody can question us and even I, when as a matter of fact it is just part of our profession, our vocation as a lawyer. Alam naman natin ‘yang mga abogado,” he added.
Earlier in the day, Trillanes alleged that Carpio and his brother-in-law, Davao Vice Mayor Paolo “Pulong” Duterte were both involved in smuggling. According to the opposition lawmaker, Carpio allegedly visited Nicanor Faeldon at his office while the latter was still the BOC chief, while Pulong saw the Customs commissioner twice.
The same day, during the continuation of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee’s hearing on the smuggling activities at the BOC, including the shipment of 604 kilos of shabu from China, former Customs intelligence service chief Neil Estrella disclosed that he saw Carpio came out Faeldon’s office.
In a Facebook post, Carpio confirmed that he went to the agency because “I represent many clients who have transactions with the Bureau of Customs.”
“It is my job as a lawyer to appear before government agencies for and on behalf of my principals,” he said.
He also dismissed as baseless Trillanes’ allegation against him.
“Senator Trillanes is imputing malice in saying that my appearance before the BOC is because of smuggling. He is just a desperate rumormonger who happens to be a senator,” said Carpio.