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Trillanes: Panel 'lawyering' for Paolo Duterte, Sara's husband

Senator Antonio Trillanes said the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee chaired by Sen. Richard Gordon should stop lawyering for Vice Mayor Paolo “Pulong” Duterte and lawyer Manases “Mans” Carpio husband of Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte. Senate PRIB/Alex Nuevaespaña

MANILA, Philippines – Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV asked the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee to invite Vice Mayor Paolo “Pulong” Duterte and lawyer Manases “Mans” Carpio to their investigation to the P6.4-billion shabu shipment.

Carpio, a lawyer whose name has been dragged into the smuggling controversy, is married to Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio. He has admitted that he has been to the Bureau of Customs office in Manila and has said it is part of his job  "to appear before government agencies for and on behalf of my principals."

He has denied involvement in smuggling.

Trillanes said Duterte and Carpio should be heard and given a chance to clear their names since they have frequently been mentioned by Bureau of Customs broker Mark Taguba.

“I believe we have enough information that would warrant the invitation for both attorney Mans Carpio and Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte to this committee hearing,” the senator said.

“I heard the majority floor leader say that it’s hearsay. Hindi ito korte, ah, this is an investigative body," Trillanes said. "We’re just establishing the truth. Let them defend themselves, ‘wag muna tayo mag-abogado sa kanila."

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Sotto: We are not 'lawyering' for them

Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III, meanwhile, clarified that he was not lawyering for Duterte and Carpio.

“Hindi tayo naga-abogado. I’m just saying at ang sinabi ko if you overheard me, sabi ko pag-aralan muna ng committee sapagkat hearsay. It doesn’t mean na huwag. Huwag mo ako pagbibintangan,” Sotto told Trillanes.

Taguba claimed he gave P1 million to someone named "Jack" intended for “Pulong” — whom the Customs broker identified as Vice Mayor Duterte, who uses that nickname — aside from the P5 million he handed to Councilor Nilo "Small" Abellera Jr.

Duterte and Carpio were tagged as persons behind the “Davao Group“ who supposedly control smuggled shipments at Customs.

Trillanes stressed that Duterte and Carpio should be invited to the hearing since other resource persons who were summoned were not even mentioned in the alleged smuggling.

“Unless sacred cows ang treatment ng committee sa kanila… these people were mentioned, so ngayon I’m just asking that these people be invited. I believe it’s fair they also have a chance to clear their names kasi na-mention talaga sila dito,” Trillanes said.

Trillanes' insistence on inviting President Rodrigo Duterte's relatives led to an argument with Sen. Richard Gordon, panel chairman, who declared him out of order and threatened to file an ethics complaint against the opposition senator. 

Sotto chairs the Senate Committee on Ethics and Privileges.

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