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Trillanes pushes ‘shabu’ shipment probe

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Trillanes pushes ‘shabu’ shipment probe

Senator Antonio Trillanes IV –INQUIRER PHOTO / GRIG C. MONTEGRANDE

Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV on Sunday said he would object to Sen. Richard Gordon’s bid to terminate the Senate blue ribbon committee’s inquiry into the P6.4-billion “shabu” (crystal meth) shipment from China because the committee had not yet located “Tita Nani,” the Bureau of Customs (BOC) official allegedly representing the Davao Group led by presidential son and Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte in the smuggling activities.

Gordon has set the committee’s 10th hearing on Monday but will focus on the allegations of Sen. Panfilo Lacson on the existence of a “tara” or payola system at the BOC in a privilege speech early this month.

Gordon conducted nine hearings on the shabu shipment, which included the appearance of the younger Duterte and his brother-in-law, Manases Carpio, whom Trillanes alleged were members of the Davao Group based on testimony of customs fixer Mark Taguba II.

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But in a phone interview, Trillanes said he would manifest on Monday’s resumption of the hearings his objection to the termination of the hearing of the shabu shipment.

“Why absolve the Davao Group and Paolo Duterte when the committee has not yet located Tita Nani whom Taguba said represents the Davao Group,” Trillanes said.

Taguba had testified and showed from text messages that he was dealing with a Tita Nani of the BOC in making sure his shipment would not be red-flagged in exchange for millions of pesos. The young customs fixer also said Tita Nani had been representing the Davao Group in their dealings.

But BOC officials were in the dark about the identity of Tita Nani.

They have also no idea who the man identified only as Jack is. Taguba allegedly met Jack in Davao City and claimed he was present in the meeting he had with Davao City Councilor Nilo Abellera Jr. who in turn received a P5 million “enrollment fee” for the Davao Group’s protection.

“I also reserved my right to have Mans Carpio and Paolo Duterte called by the committee again. I’m not through with them. It is my right as a member of the committee,” Trillanes said.

At Monday’s resumption, Lacson said he expected Taguba to share information through a matrix and documents such as bank statements that would show that the tara system at the BOC existed.

“We took a representative sample (of Taguba’s documents and phone messages) where his shipment was able to go through the green lane (that means no BOC inspection needed) but even if he made use of the tara system, his shipment was held and he had to fork out an additional P50,000 for a BOC commissioner,” Lacson said in a radio interview on Sunday.

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Lacson said Taguba even paid the tara through cash and even a check. But he said Taguba paid mostly through cash.

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