Paolo Duterte, brod-in-law attending Sept. 7 Senate hearing on Customs smuggling

September 4, 2017 - 5:41 PM
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News5 quote image of Paolo Duterte, replying to earlier allegations linking him to a "Davao Group."

MANILA – President Duterte’s son and son-in-law are attending the Sept. 7 Senate blue ribbon hearing on Customs smuggling, a statement from their office said Monday.

The statement by Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte and Atty. Manases Carpio, husband of Davao Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, said:

“We have received an invitation from the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee to attend their hearing on Thursday, September 7.

“We duly recognize the coercive powers of the Senate of the Philippines as part of the legislative branch of government and their authority to conduct an inquiry in aid of legislation.

“We commit to respect the invitation and attend the hearing.”

Sen. Richard Gordon, blue ribbon chairman, issued the invitation on Monday as he vowed to mount a credible conclusion to the inquiry into the Customs-related issues, which began with the smuggling of P6 billion worth of shabu in May, but has since included mention of a so-called “Davao Group” that, according to Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, refers to alleged influence-peddling at Customs by the vice mayor and his brother in law.

Gordon and Trillanes had a heated argument and nearly came to blows last week after Trillanes accused Gordon of trying to shield the Duterte relatives.

Keeping silent ‘their prerogative’ – Abella

Briefing Malacañang reporters earlier, presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said that the two men had indeed sent word they will attend the Sept. 7 hearing, but, he added, it will be up to them to decide whether or not to speak up or invoke their constitutional right to refuse to answer questions they might deem incriminatory.

President Rodrigo Duterte, a former city prosecutor, had said in remarks at the weekend that his son and son-in-law could very well invoke their right to keep silent on certain questions.

Abella said, “I’m sure the gentlemen are willing to [attend hearings] and as they have said, are willing to face the Senate.”

As to refusing to answer some questions, Abella said, “that will be their prerogative but they definitely said that they’re willing to face” the Senate probers.