Senator Richard Gordon invited presidential son and Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte and son-in-law Manases Carpio to the Senate hearing into the smuggling case after initially rejecting the proposal to invite both.
“Ang abangan ninyo, pinapatawag na namin ‘yung dalawa sapagkat kahit ano’ng gawin ninyo, kahit ano’ng gawin ko, sinasabi natin na hearsay, sinasabi natin na sila’y anak ng Pangulo, sila ay kamag-anak ng Pangulo, dapat ipatawag, and that is why I agree na ipatawag in the first place,” Gordon said in an interview on GMA News.
His remarks came after President Rodrigo Duterte advised his son Paolo to attend the probe but to invoke his right to self-incrimination.
Here are the letters that the Senate blue ribbon committee that Gordon led had sent to Paolo Duterte and Carpio on September 4.
According to Senate Majority Leader Vicente “Tito” Sotto III, the Senate probe would change its focus from the P6.4 billion worth of smuggled shabu to the corruption in the Bureau of Customs, as what was noted in Senator Panfilo Lacson’s privilege speech.
Gordon earlier refused to invite Paolo and Carpio when Senator Antonio Trillanes IV moved to extend an invitation to the two after their names were mentioned in the text messages read by Customs “fixer” Mark Taguba. However, Taguba has since apologized to the two and cleared them from being involved in the drug smuggling issue.
Gordon dismissed the allegations against Paolo and Carpio and called them “hearsay.”
“Sa’kin, hearsay mga narinig ko pero ayoko sabihin na inaayos ko yung ebidensya,” Gordon said. “I don’t want to be distracted from the drug issue. Once I finish this, we go back to the tara then maybe we can put it there.”
During his interview with reporters on August 31, Gordon also said that he would only invite Paolo and Carpio if there is direct evidence against them.
“The moment he says, ‘ako nakausap ko si Paulo at sinabi ko sa kanya tulungan mo ako’ at sinabi niya ‘tutulunga kita, bibigyan kita ng pera.’ Swak na yun. Ito sinabi lang, mga tao ito ni Paolo, Davao Group yan,” Gordon said. “Hindi tayo nag-co-convict ng tao without evidence.”
However, he now denies rejecting the need to summon the two.
“Hindi totoo ‘yung sinasabi niyang hinaharang namin,” he said.
“Well I expect them to be … on a higher plane than ordinary citizens, na kahit konting quip, wala na akong pakialam do’n. Sagutin nila ,” Gordon said in a chance interview on September 4.
This prompted Trillanes to say that Gordon may have felt public pressure.
“Nakaramdam lang si Senator Gordon ng public pressure, bibigay din pala. Anyway, regardless [of] whether they would cooperate or not, I will be prepared to confront them on Thursday,” Trillanes told reporters via text message.
President Duterte called Trillanes’ supposed evidence that would implicate his son and son-in-law in the BOC corruption as nothing but “trash.”
Paolo, Carpio to attend Sept. 7 probe
The younger Duterte and Carpio released a joint statement showing that they will attend the Senate hearing on the illegal drug shipments on September 7.
They said they respected the Senate committee’s invitation.
“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,” the statement read.