Duterte willing to testify in probe vs smuggling

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Friday, January 24, 2014


DAVAO CITY -- Mayor Rodrigo Duterte said Wednesday he is willing to submit himself before the Senate and testify on rice smuggling.

"If I will be called, I will testify because that is a Senate summon and you can be in contempt if you don't obey it," Duterte told reporters in an interview after the turnover of the P500,000 worth of check each to four municipalities in Compostela Valley province.

Duterte said his testimonies before the Senate will still be the same with what he had said all these time since Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) Commissioner Kim Henares contacted him.

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"Yun ang sasabihin ko doon. I did not ask for this. It was because of the request of Henares, that I will help. Kaya naman talaga ako nag help kasi mahiya ako kay Presidente binigyan niya ako/nila ng building which I have been asking for the longest time. Yung hospital sa cancer patients," he said.

In Wednesday's hearing, Senator Grace Poe said that it is high time that the real David Tan be unmasked to put a stop to the rampant rice smuggling in the country.

Poe said Duterte can present witnesses who will attest before the panel on the real identity of Bangayan and David Tan.

Also, Davidson Bangayan will be invited in the next hearing of the Senate committee on agriculture and food to shed light on the prevalence of rice smuggling in the country.

Duterte earlier said Bangayan and the alleged king of rice smuggling, “David Tan,” were one and the same person. But the businessman denied it.

Based on reports, David Tan and several other Chinese names were identified as the big traders that are cornering a big chunk of the country's rice imports under the 2013 quantitative restriction import mode of the agency.

The National Bureau of Investigation had taken action on the Senate's order to pursue the leads on the big-time rice smugglers two years ago.

As a result, the names of Willy Sy, Danny Ngo and David Lim, alleged cohorts of Tan, were mentioned during the Senate committee hearing.

"It is not important how many names he (Bangayan)) uses. What is important is that the persona, the physical identity of the person, then go ahead and arrest him," Duterte said on Wednesday.

"There is a pleading somewhere, he admitted being David Bangayan. That would constitute a crime. Kasi sabi ko kay de Lima hindi talaga siya prosecutor eh. Election officer lang siya. Pambilang lang siya ng boto eh. Illegal use of alias. That is prohibited by law," he added. (Sun.Star Davao/With reports from Sunnex)

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on January 24, 2014.

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