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Broker clears Rody kin in Customs mess

Broker Mark Taguba criticized yesterday the circulation of  “fake news” on his testimony at the Senate Blue Ribbon hearing on Thursday and denied that he implicated Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte and lawyer Manases Carpio in the shipment of illegal drugs in the country. Senate PRIB/File

Taguba succumbed to pressure, says senator

MANILA, Philippines — It’s all fake news.

Broker Mark Taguba criticized yesterday the circulation of  “fake news” on his testimony at the Senate Blue Ribbon hearing on Thursday and denied that he implicated Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte and lawyer Manases Carpio in the shipment of illegal drugs in the country.

In a statement sent by his lawyer Raymond Fortun, Taguba also denied that the two are involved in the tara (grease money) system at the Bureau of Customs (BOC).

He explained that the names of the vice mayor and Carpio, husband of Davao City Mayor and presidential daughter Sara Duterte, were merely mentioned by the so called “Davao group” who were in direct contact with him and those he identified as Tita Nannie and Jack.

Taguba also disputed allegations that the container his company released on May 24 contained 605 kilos of shabu, pointing out that the shipment was certified correct by the port of Xiamen under the ASEAN-China Free Trade Agreement and only contained general household items.

This was not allegedly the same container that contained the illegal drugs placed in five cylinders. 

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“I am making this statement to clear Vice Mayor Duterte and Atty. Manse Carpio from any involvement in the shipment of illegal drugs into the country and any anomalies in the BOC. I also apologize to vice Mayor Duterte, Atty. Carpio and to the First Family for the proliferation of fake news arising from my testimony at the Senate” Taguba said.

But Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV believes Taguba was put under a lot of pressure to come out with the statement clearing Paolo and Carpio of any involvement in smuggling activities at the BOC.

“I can only imagine the pressure being applied on Mr. Taguba right now,” Trillanes said.

He added that Taguba’s statement “would not change anything as far as what has already been disclosed during the Senate Blue Ribbon committee hearings on the shabu shipment.”

Taguba had testified about corruption at the BOC and how contraband can be smuggled into the country using tara. 

“But the hearing yesterday was seen on national TV so the public knows what he said or did not say. The text messages he read aloud which named Paolo Duterte and Mans Carpio were never forced on him and neither were they fabricated,” Trillanes said.  

“Therefore, Mr. Taguba’s clarification doesn’t change anything, Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte and Atty. Mans Carpio should still appear before the Blue Ribbon committee. The effect of his statement is no different from Kian delos Santos’ parents doing the fist salute with Duterte,” he added.

Trillanes has been pushing for the committee to invite Paolo and Carpio since their names have repeatedly been mentioned in the hearings.

However, Sen. Richard Gordon has refused to act on his motions because of the lack of evidence to support the claims made against them.

Sen. Grace Poe, for her part, said that any person mentioned during public hearings should be given the opportunity to appear and defend themselves.

She added that the persons involved could still present themselves voluntarily to clear their names even if the committee chairman has not invited them. 

Poe stressed that the chairmen of the committees should always treat everyone fairly in order to remove any impression that they are taking sides. – With Marvin Sy

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