During the continuation of the Senate probe on the issue on Thursday, August 31, 2017, Gordon said that the Chinese government needs to work with the country in fighting the spread of illegal drugs, given the number of Chinese citizens who have been actively participating in the local drug trade. Senate PRIB/Alexis Nuevaespaña

Trillanes, Gordon in verbal tussle at Senate smuggling hearing
Audrey Morallo (Philstar.com) - August 31, 2017 - 2:15pm

MANILA, Philippines — A heated and sometimes personal verbal confrontation ensued in the Senate after Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV accused Sen. Richard Gordon of lawyering for the son of President Rodrigo Duterte who was being implicated in a scandal involving the entry of illegal drugs into the country.

The Senate Blue Ribbon Committee is probing into the allegations of Mark Taguba, an alleged “fixer” at the Bureau of Customs, that Paolo Duterte, vice mayor of Davao City and one of the sons of the president, was part of the Davao Group which purportedly wielded strong influence over the government agency.

Aside from the presidential son, also mentioned as part of the group was Manases Carpio, the son-in-law of the president. Carpio, husband of Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, was also accused of appearing in the office of former BOC Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon.

Carpio 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.

'Committee de absuwelto'

Trillanes said that with the way the proceedings were happening it seemed that the panel had become a “committee de absuwelto.”

“Nagiging committee de absuwelto ang Blue Ribbon Committee,” he said.

This comment did not sit well with Gordon who challenged Trillanes to be specific in his accusations and avoid making general statements against his fellow senators.

He then threatened to cite Trillanes in contempt and file an ethics complaint against him.

“The gentleman has been accusing everybody in the Senate of everything,” Gordon said. “I am asking the majority floor leader to convoke the ethics committee, and I will file personally an ethics committee case against the gentleman from Bicol.”

Lawmakers dig up past controversies

The two senators also dug into the past controversies each of them got involved in.

“The problem with this gentleman is whenever he doesn’t like it he will conduct a coup. Then he will be forgiven. Then he will go to the Senate. Then he will conduct a coup again. Then he will be forgiven again,” Gordon said, referring to the two military rebellions staged by Trillanes during the time of former President Gloria Arroyo.

Trillanes actually only applied for amnesty once, the only time that it was offered during the Aquino administration. The grant of amnesty was concurred in by Congress.

Trillanes then answered with his own muck against Gordon. He described Gordon as “pathetic” for barricading himself in Subic during his time as the chairman of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority allegedly to cling to his post.

Argument over inviting Duterte, Carpio

The verbal tussle between the two senators started when Trillanes, who is part of the Senate minority caucus, made an indirect accusation that the Senate panel was afraid to summon the president’s son and son-in-law.

“The motion has been made dahil itong ibang mga resource persons dito they were invited quietly and wala naman nangyari. Bakit suddenly masyadong jittery or binabadger na yung nagsasabi,” Trillanes said after making the motion to invite the two.

It was at this point when Gordon, who is part of the Senate majority, asked Trillanes if he was accusing him or Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III of “badgering the witness.”

“If you feel alluded to, that’s not my problem,” Trillanes curtly replied.

Gordon then challenged Trillanes to be specific with his accusations as they were in the Senate and not in a “cockpit of chismis (gossips).”

Gordon said: “We’re here investigating real things. Huwag ka magdadaldal dito ng hindi mo nalalaman.”

Trillanes objected to his being cited for contempt, but Gordon ignored it.

The back-and-forth between the two men was so intense that Sotto, the majority leader, had to step in to remind the two that their exchanges were “very unparliamentary.”

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