Taguba stripped of Senate protection; Lacson asks Gordon why
Sen. Panfilo Lacson plans to ask his fellow senators to restore the protective custody the Senate earlier granted to Customs fixer Mark Taguba.
In a radio interview on Saturday, Lacson wondered why the blue ribbon committee stripped Taguba of protection after he linked presidential son and Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte and brother-in-law Manases Carpio to corruption at the Bureau of Customs (BOC).
Lacson noted that the protection was removed after Taguba linked the so-called “Davao Group,” including the vice mayor and Carpio, to corruption at the BOC.
“After that hearing, [Taguba] was surprised that he was stripped of the protective custody. So I can only surmise that it is the reason why he released a statement recanting his statements and apologizing [to Duterte and Carpio],” Lacson said.
Two weeks ago, Taguba issued a statement clearing the vice mayor and Carpio of involvement in smuggling at the BOC and apologized for the “fake news” linking the two to the issue.
“On Monday I plan to talk to the committee so that the protective custody granted him earlier will be restored,” Lacson said.
“I also want to know the flow of communication, what time and what day the protective custody was removed because [that] tells a lot,” he said, adding that the matter should have been voted on by senators.
“I am not accusing anybody especially [since] they are my colleagues but I want to be enlightened,” said Lacson, who is also a member of the Senate blue ribbon committee.
Reacting to Lacson’s remarks, Sen. Richard Gordon, chair of the Senate blue ribbon committee, said he decided to strip Taguba of protective custody by himself.
“He doesn’t need protection. His family is welloff. His father was formerly with the [Customs] police,” he said in a radio interview.
Gordon also raised doubts on the truth of Taguba’s testimony, saying that the Senate was paying at least four bodyguards for Taguba who gave some statements that were lies.
“What kind of protection should I give to a liar?” he said, adding that the blue ribbon committee would have to discuss any formal motion Lacson might make about the protective custody.
The committee granted official protection to Taguba in July when he implicated some BOC officials in the shipment of the illegal drugs and disclosed the said officials’ alleged knowledge of the drug shipment in an executive session.
Senate Majority Leader Sen. Vicente Sotto III had moved that Taguba be granted protective custody by the Senate.
The motion was approved by Gordon, who said he would ask Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III to assign the Senate sergeant at arms to provide protection for Taguba.
He also said additional security from other law enforcement agencies could be provided “for as long as it is needed.”
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