Broker recants, clears Pulong, Mans from drug-smuggling mess

Sep. 02, 2017

Photos from Atty. Mans Carpio Facebook page and Davao Today

DAVAO CITY, Philippines—Controversial Bureau of Customs broker Mark Taguba II cleared Davao Vice Mayor Paolo “Pulong” Duterte and lawyer Manases “Mans” Carpio from the alleged P6.4-billion shabu shipment from China.

“I am making this statement to clear Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte and Atty. Mans Carpio from any involvement in the shipment of illegal drugs into the country, and any anomalies in the Bureau of Customs,” he said in a statement on Friday.

The embattled customer broker was tagged as the one who facilitated the shipment of drugs from Xiamen, China. He, however, denied any knowledge that the container had shabu inside it.

Taguba’s statement came after news has circulated that presidential son, Paolo and Carpio, the husband of Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, were tagged in the BOC mess.

Taguba clarified that he never testified against them. He asked an apology after the two personalities were dragged in the controversy.

“I also hereby apologize to Vice Mayor Duterte, Atty. Carpio and to the first family for the proliferation of fake news arising out of my testimony at the Senate yesterday,” he said in a statement through his legal counsel laywer Raymond Fortun.

“I wish to categorically make it clear that: 1. I had never testified, nor will I ever testify that Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte and/or Atty. Mans Carpio were involved in the shipment of illegal drugs into the country. Neither have I testified, nor will I ever testify that the aforementioned individuals were involved in the ‘Tara System’ that was in place at the Bureau of Customs,” he said.

But Senator Antonio Trillanes IV said that Taguba was “pressured” to retract his earlier statement linking the younger Duterte and lCarpio and their supposed linked with the “Davao group” in the Customs mess.

“I can only imagine the pressure being applied on Mr. Taguba right now. But the hearing yesterday was seen on national TV so the public knows what he said or did not say,” Trillanes said.

“The text messages he read aloud which named Paolo Duterte and Mans Carpio were never forced on him and neither were they fabricated,” he said, who is a staunch critic of President Rodrigo Duterte.

Meanwhile, President Duterte on Friday said called Trillanes’ evidence as “trash”.

Speaking before the military officers at the 11th Founding Anniversary of the Eastern Mindanao Command in Panacan here, he said even before he was President, his son has already been dragged in corruption allegations.

He said he will not tolerate his children if they are proven to be involved in corruption and reiterated he will step down as President if they get into the mess.

“I’m ready to step down. I told you before, I will step down… if I or my children are involved in corruption,” he said.(

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