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Trillanes asks why Taguba was removed from protective custody

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Trillanes asks why Taguba was removed from protective custody

Mark Taguba II

Mark Taguba II testifying at the Senate. —GRIG C. MONTEGRANDE

Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV on Sunday joined Sen. Panfilo Lacson in questioning Sen. Richard Gordon’s decision to remove confessed fixer Mark Taguba II from the Senate’s protective custody.

Trillanes said Taguba had linked President Duterte’ son, Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte, and his son-in-law Manases “Mans” Carpio to corruption at the Bureau of Customs (BOC).

Trillanes said Lacson was right in questioning Gordon’s withdrawal of Senate protective custody for Taguba without getting the consent or vote of the members of the blue ribbon committee.

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Lacson said last week that he would ask the committee to restore the protective custody granted to Taguba by the Senate.

His own decision

Gordon said on Saturday that he made the decision as chair of the committee.

He said that being well-off, Taguba could provide himself with protection.

In a phone interview on Sunday, Trillanes said Gordon was being “intellectually dishonest.”

“Why give the protection in the first place?” Trillanes said.

In a radio interview on Sunday, Gordon said he removed Taguba’s protective custody because the Senate sargeant at arms, Jose Balajadia, had asked him if Taguba really needed it, as four of his men were securing the fixer and the Senate was paying all the expenses.

“[Taguba] is rich. His family owns a hotel and a resort . . . He has his own security and he has a very good lawyer,” Gordon said.

‘Unfair’

Gordon said that saying he removed Taguba’s protective custody because the latter linked Vice Mayor Duterte and Carpio to corruption at the BOC was “unfair” because in the first place Taguba did not change his statements and maintained that his linking them was just hearsay.

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Gordon said Taguba had not appealed for the return of his Senate protective custody and that it was Lacson who was making that appeal.

He said the committee members could always move for the restoration of Taguba’s Senate custody and he was open to giving him protection, not protective custody.

Gordon also said former Customs Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon would be cited for contempt by the blue ribbon committee if he failed to answer “legitimate” questions during the resumption of hearings on P6.4 billion worth of “shabu” (crystal meth) that slipped past the bureau in May.

The committee will hold the eighth hearing on Monday and tackle Lacson’s accusation made in a recent privilege speech that BOC officials, including Faeldon, took bribes from unscrupulous brokers for the release of their cargoes.

Faeldon said last week that he would attend the next hearing, but would prefer to be cited for contempt and detained than answer questions from impartial senators.

Gordon said he would talk to Faeldon and try to convince him to attend the hearing with a lawyer who could give him “protection.”

“If he doesn’t answer legitimate questions, he could be cited [for] contempt,” Gordon said.

He said among those questions was why the shabu shipment went through the green lane, where it would be processed for release without inspection.

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TAGS: Antonio Trillanes IV, Customs shabu shipment, Customs smuggling, Davao group, Manases Carpio, Mark Taguba II, Panfilo Lacson, Paolo Duterte, Richard Gordon
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