Paolo Duterte, right, the eldest son of President Rodrigo Duterte sits next to his brother in law, Mans Carpio, during the continuing senate probe on the more than half a ton of the illegal drug methamphetamine hydrochloride, locally known as "shabu" worth $128 million (P6.4 Billion Pesos) from China which passed through customs Thursday, Sept. 7, 2017, in Pasay City, Philippines. STAR/Mong Pintolo, file

Opposition lawmakers: Is Paolo Duterte skirting Ombudsman probe?
( - December 26, 2017 - 8:54am

MANILA, Philippines — Opposition lawmakers question the reason behind the resignation of Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte, presidential son, amid investigation into the first family's corruption links.

On Christmas day, Vice Mayor Duterte announced that he is leaving his position in the City Government of Davao—stronghold of the Dutertes for decades—citing "delicadeza."

Duterte critic Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, however, slammed the younger Duterte's "delicadeza" as a smokescreen to ongoing investigations surrounding his family.

"Delicadeza, seriously? He fought it off with her daughter in a public spat through Facebook, then he says delicadeza?" Trillanes said in a statement, in mix of English and Filipino.

Last week, Paolo and his daughter Isabelle Duterte aired the family's dirty laundry when they exchanged expletive-laden posts in social media following presidential granddaughter's post criticizing her father's ways.

The heated exchange between the father and daughter came while typhoon Vinta was battering the Mindanao region. On Monday, Davao City declared state of calamity “to revitalize the economic stability and to give much needed help to the people."

The public spat came following the teenager's pre-debut pictorial at the Malacañang that made headlines for what seemed a lavish display of the family's wealth, despite the patriarch's several pronouncements that they lived a simple lifestyle.

READ: Duterte defends granddaughter Isabelle's Palace photoshoot

6.4 billion shabu case

Trillanes also pointed out the curious timing of the younger Duterte's resignation. "He is probably just preempting the numerous investigations against him by the Ombudsman," the senator said.

This was also echoed by Rep. Gary Alejano (Magdalo party-list), Trillanes' party colleague, as he raised: "[I]s he preempting an Ombudsman decision on his corruption case?"

Paolo and his brother-in-law Mans Carpio were tagged by a broker who facilitated the entry of P6.4 billion shabu shipment into the country.

Paolo Duterte, presidential son and vice mayor of family stronghold Davao City, reacts during a Senate public hearing into the massive shipment of illegal narcotics from China on Sept. 7, 2017. STAR/Mong Pintolo, file

Paolo attended a Senate probe, led by vocal administration ally Sen. Richard Gordon, into the issue but refused to show a supposed tattoo on his back that would allegedly prove his membership in an international criminal syndicate.

The Gordon-led committee issued a report that recommends a lifestyle check on Paolo due to their "close relationships to persons possessing high authority".

But the Office of the Ombudsman, on November, announced that it has created a panel to conduct a fact-finding investigation into the shabu shipment case.

The two presidential kin were also not named as respondents in the criminal case filed before the Department of Justice.

Davao mall fire

Alejano also said that Paolo's resignation "will not mitigate the suffering and death of the people of Davao and other places due to flooding and fire."

On Christmas weekend, a mall in Davao was engulfed by fire. Thirty-seven bodies were recovered on Monday.

READ: Families lose breadwinners in Davao city's NCCC Mall blaze

The Dutertes continue to hold the seat of power in the highly urbanized city for decades. President Duterte sat as the city's mayor for almost 20 years before gunning for the chief executive position.

Presidential daughter Sara Duterte currently sits as mayor.

Stated in the Local Government Code of the Philippines, a city or town's mayor is mandated to "direct the formulation of the municipal development plan."

Alejano added that those whose loved ones were killed in the fire "need all the support from all of us especially from the concerned agencies of government."

The president, also on Tuesday, said that he will "let the people decide" on his son's decision to leave the office.

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