By: Argyll Cyrus B. Geducos
President Duterte is unconvinced that his son, Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte, is involved in the P6.4-billion shabu smuggling controversy at the Bureau of Customs.
The Chief Executive said he needs evidence proving that Vice Mayor Duterte is involved in corrupt practices at the BoC.
The presidential son’s name was dragged into the controversy during the House of Representatives’ hearing last week on the illegal drug shipment from China that passed through the BoC and seized in Valenzuela City last May.
“If my son was really into it or is in there, all you have to do is to produce the paper – because there are two ways of evidence – oral pati (and) documentary,” President Duterte said in a speech during the centennial celebration of the Southern Philippines Medical Center at the SMX Convention Center in Davao City.
“Just give me an affidavit and I will step down as President of this Republic. And that is my commitment to you now.
That is my word,” he added.
The President said he would not tolerate corruption since he himself is not used to a lavish lifestyle. “Hindi talaga ako papayag niyan. Tutal, nabuhay lang rin ako sa ganito-ganito, ‘yung tamang-tama lang,” he said.
During the House hearing last week, Customs whistleblower Mark Taguba mentioned a “Tita Nani” who he supposedly met through a “Davao Group” when lawmakers asked him to name personalities involved in bribery activities at the BoC.
Taguba said that the Davao Group is allegedly backed by a “Vice Mayor.” However, he admitted that those involved could have just resorted to namedropping an official to seal a deal.
Vice Mayor Duterte denied involvement in corrupt activities at the BoC. He noted that Taguba himself admitted that his testimony was based on hearsay.
“Taguba admitted that his testimony against me was based entirely on rumors. Why would we entertain or believe a hearsay? One does not dignify lies with a response,” Vice Mayor Duterte said.