Pulong, Carpio resort to right to privacy in Senate probe

"I AM invoking the right to privacy."

These were the words uttered by Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte after Senator Antonio Trillanes IV asked questions on Thursday on the content of his bank accounts shown before the Senate Blue Ribbon inquiry on the P6.4-billion drug shipment controversy.

Trillanes combed through several bank accounts of the presidential son and have tried to conclude that these amounts came through his involvement with the so-called "Davao Group".

With strong allegation present, Duterte said, "There is a law on bank secrecy and I have the right to privacy."

Prior the questions on the bank account, Duterte also refused to show his tattoo, which according to Trillanes bears a symbol of a drug triad.

"No way," Duterte said during the inquiry.

However, Trillanes insisted to have the picture of his tattoo and have it verified.

"Mister chair, ilang beses ko bang dapat sabihin na ayaw ko," Duterte said.

Duterte, during Thursday's hearing, said his appearance before the Senate is in compliance with the Senate committee and as a gesture of respect to the Senate.

He said that it was also an opportunity for him to deny all the baseless allegations thrown against him.

"Kinahanglan na nako mubarog karon alang sa akung pamilya, labi na gyud ang akong mga anak nga maoy hilabihan nga naapektuhan sa aning pagpangdaot kanako (I need to stand for my family, for my children who are greatly affected by the black propaganda thrown against me)," he added.

He said his presence is for the Filipino people, also apologizing to his fellow Dabawenyos that he cannot answer allegations based on hearsay.

"To my fellow Dabawanyos whom I serve, I am very sorry ug pasayloa ko ninyo, but I cannot answer allegations based on hearsay (To my fellow Dabawenyos to whom I serve, I am very sorry and forgive me, but I cannot answer allegations based on hearsay)," he said.

Meanwhile, presidential son-in-law lawyer Manases Carpio, during the hearing, also underscored that he was present to give due respect to the committee invitation.

He also denied having met self-confessed Bureau of Customs (BOC) fixer Mark Taguba II before.

"My brother-in-law and I have been publicly crucified based on rumors and gossip. I do not know Mark Ruben Taguba II and have not met him," he said.

"I am a lawyer by profession and my practice involves representing my clients in courts and other government institutions including the Bureau of Customs," he added.

He said he had worked with BOC since the administration of former President Benigno Simeon Aquino III.

"I am here before this committee to formally declare that I have no knowledge of or involvement in the illegal drugs shipment which is the subject matter of this inquiry and to assist the committee in whatever way I can as a resource person," Carpio said.

Duterte and Carpio appeared before the hearing on Thursday to shed light on the issue of corruption at the BOC after they were dragged by Taguba.

Taguba on August 31 retracted his initial statement and apologized to the two.

All-out support

Meanwhile, colleagues of the vice mayor also went to the hearing to support him.

Based on reports, a total of 12 councilors, from the 18th Davao City Council went to support Duterte including Councilors Al Ryan Alejandre, April Dayap, Victorio Advincula, Mary Joselle Villafuerte, Jimmy Dureza, Diosdado Angelo Mahipus, Rene Lopez, Dante Apostol, Maria Belen Acosta, Melchor Quitain Jr., Conrado Baluran and Lea Librado Yap.

Alejandre mentioned that they were invited by Senator Sonny Angara.
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