MANILA — Senator Grace Poe on Friday said that it is the prerogative of Senator Richard Gordon, chair of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, to invite presidential son and Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte and his brother-in-law, lawyer Manases Carpio to the next Senate hearing into the PHP6.4-billion shabu shipment from China.
“Para sa akin, prerogatiba ‘yan ng chairman kung sino ang tatawagin niya pero ang gusto natin ay mabuo ang istorya (For me, it is the prerogative of the chairman who to invite to the hearing but we also want to hear the whole story),” Poe said in a radio interview.
Poe made this statement a day after Senators Gordon and Antonio Trillanes IV had a heated exchange over whether to invite Duterte and Carpio or not.
Although it was Gordon’s call, Poe agreed with Trillanes that inviting Duterte and Carpio would give them a chance to clear their names.
“…Kahit sino naman ang binanggit sa hearing ay may pagkakataon na ipawalang-sala ang kanilang sarili sa pamamagitan ng pag-eeksplika kung ano ba talaga (Anyone mentioned in the hearing will have a chance to clear his name by explaining what the situation really is),” Poe said.
“…Tama rin naman ang sinasabi na hangga’t hindi natin nalalaman ang buong katotohanan, hindi rin tayo pwedeng humusga, kaya nga meron din tayong mga pagdinig na dapat manatiling patas at independent (But it’s also right that until we don’t know the entire story, we can’t judge),” she added.
The senator also said that Duterte and Carpio could still show up voluntarily just to shed more light on the issue.
“Hangga’t hindi hinihingi ng chairman ng committee na ipatawag sila, siyempre walang obligasyon sa kanila. Sila lamang, boluntaryo, kung makakatulong sa kanila, bakit hindi? (Since the Chairman doesn’t call for them, they don’t have an obligation. It’s voluntary. If they can help, why not?)”she added.
She, meanwhile, said that it was unfortunate how Gordon and Trillanes had to argue and how the former expressed intention to file an ethics complaint against the latter.
“Siyempre nakakalungkot rin ang nangyaring ‘yan dahil mga kasama ko ‘yan, pero ang ninanais ko sana, hindi na humantong ito sa isang ethics hearing o ethics complaint – na pwede nang pag-usapan nang maayos kasi importante na maobserbahan natin talaga ang decorum at paggalang sa ating mga pagdinig (Of course, it’s unfortunate that this happened between my colleagues. But I had hoped it hadn’t gone as far sa filing an ethics complaint – that it could have been discussed because it’s important to observe decorum in our hearings),” Poe, a member of the Ethics committee, said.
On Friday, Customs broker and fixer Mark Taguba apologized to Duterte and Carpio for linking them to the PHP6.4-billion shabu shipment.
In a statement from his lawyer, Raymond Fortun, Taguba said that he never testified or will ever testify that Duterte and Carpio were involved in the shipment of illegal drugs to the Philippines or that they were involved in the “Tara System” (bribery) at the bureau.
“I am making this statement to clear Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte and Atty. Manse Carpio from any involvement in the shipment of illegal drugs into the country and any anomalies in the Bureau of Customs,” Taguba said in his statement.
“I also hereby apologize to Vice Mayor Duterte, Atty. Carpio and the first family for the proliferation of fake news arising out of my testimony at the Senate yesterday (Thursday),” he added.