MANILA — Davao City Councilor Nilo “Small” Abellera Jr. on Tuesday denied that he had a hand in the facilitation of the PHP6.4 billion shabu shipment from China which slipped through the Bureau of Customs (BOC) and later seized in Valenzuela City.
Abellera was tagged by Customs broker, “fixer” and witness Mark Taguba as a member of the so-called “Davao Group” that allegedly facilitated the release of the illegal shipment.
In the fifth Senate probe into the issue, Abellera was again a no-show due to hypertension.
However, he sent a letter to the Senate blue ribbon committee explaining his absence and attaching his affidavit.
Abellera, in his letter dated August 28, explained that he is still recovering from hypertension and requested to attend the next Senate hearings scheduled on August 31 and September 4.
Meanwhile, in his affidavit, he denied any “knowledge and participation” in the illegal shipment.
“I hereby state that I have no knowledge, let alone any participation, on the shipment of shabu from China, subject matter of the current Senate investigation,”
Abellera said in his affidavit.
He added that he was aware Taguba made false accusations against him, claiming that he is a member of Davao Group, that he received PHP5 million as an “enrollment fee,” and that the group received about PHP1 million per week.
“I vehemently deny Mr. Taguba’s above allegations for being false, baseless and malicious,” the Davao City Councilor said.
He also denied knowing anyone named “Tita Nani” or “Tita Nannie.”
However, he admitted that he previously met a certain “Jack.”
Taguba earlier claimed that the PHP1 million weekly payment was received through Jack.
The Davao City Councilor reiterated that he never had any transaction or dealing with Taguba and never spoke to him over the phone.
“If it is true that I received millions of pesos from Mr. Taguba in connection with his Customs dealings, he should have called me to complain when his shipments were subsequently
subjected to alerts. The fact that he did not show that I have no transactions and/or dealings with Mr. Taguba,” Abellera said.
In an interview with reporters, Senator Antonio Trillanes IV said Abellera’s affidavit will do him more harm than good.
“Lalo siya maiipit sa next hearing (He will have a bigger problem in the next hearing),” Trillanes said.
The senator, meanwhile, tagged Mans Carpio, husband of Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, as allegedly involved in corruption in the BOC.
Trillanes said he has at least three informants who could validate this allegation.
He, meanwhile, requested the BOC to provide the Senate panel with digital copies of CCTV footage in the BOC.