Duterte: I’ll quit if my son is into corruption
President Rodrigo Duterte reiterated his frequently repeated vow to resign the presidency if critics can prove that members of his family are involved in corruption.
Mr. Duterte repeated the vow after a customs brokerage worker claimed in a congressional investigation last week that his contacts at the Bureau of Customs (BOC) had been dropping the name of presidential son and Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte.
“If my son was really into it or is in there, all you have to do is to produce the paper,” Duterte told physicians during the centenary of Southern Philippines Medical Center in Davao City on Friday.
“Just give me an affidavit and I will step down as President of this republic. That is my commitment to you now. That is my word,” he added.
Paid off aides
In a congressional probe on Aug. 7 of the entry of P6.4 billion worth of drugs from China, brokerage “coordinator” Mark Taguba had claimed that he had paid off “aides” of BOC officials to ease the processing of shipment papers.
Taguba also mentioned that the supposed aides were part of the so-called “Davao group” that purportedly included someone he identified as “vice mayor.”
Although congressmen prodded Taguba to name names, he never tagged Paolo Duterte as the referred vice mayor and even clarified he never met the so-called “vice mayor.”
But Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, a vocal Duterte critic, on Thursday released documents which, he claimed, proved the Davao vice mayor was involved in corruption at the BOC.
The documents turned out to be “intelligence reports” of the National Bureau of Investigation (dated Dec. 4, 2007) and the Presidential Anti-Smuggling Group (dated Dec. 7, 2007).
These were the same documents Trillanes released last year, when he was running for Vice President.
On Saturday, Trillanes insisted that the Senate look into the unsubstantiated claim implicating the Davao vice mayor in corruption at the BOC.
If the Senate blue ribbon committee chair cannot handle the probe of Paolo, Trillanes suggested a subcommittee be created to focus on the matter.
“If you don’t have time for that, I can focus on it,” Trillanes said in an interview with radio station dwIZ. “If I fail to produce anything, I would be the one to lose face.”
It was not the first time Trillanes tried to go after the President or the Davao vice mayor.
In a supposed plan to impeach Duterte in March, Trillanes asked the Senate to investigate the claims of former policeman Arturo Lascañas and confessed hit man Edgar Matobato, that then Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte ordered them to liquidate people.
Lascañas and Matobato also claimed that Paolo had also ordered killings and was involved in smuggling activities in Davao City.
Trillanes and Magdalo party-list Rep. Gary Alejano filed a case for crimes against humanity against Duterte with the International Criminal Court last June.
In both the cases of Lascañas and Matobato and that of Taguba, Paolo himself dismissed the claims as lies.
“One does not dignify lies with a response,” the President’s son said after the congressional hearing last week.
Mr. Duterte, in his speech on Friday, reminded his audience that he had fired two Cabinet officials for alleged links to graft although they were part of his campaign team during the elections.
He said he would never tolerate graft and had always tried to make do with his modest wages as a prosecutor and as President.
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