PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday said he would rather let independent agencies to look into the smuggling allegations hurled against his son Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte and son-in-law lawyer Manases "Mans" Carpio rather than himself.
“Who would believe me if I investigate my son and my son-in-law?” he told reporters on Tuesday night upon his arrival in Davao City from a three-day trip in Japan.
Duterte said he would allow independent agencies, such as Commission on Human Rights and National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), to investigate claims that his son and son-in-law were involved in the smuggling activities at the Bureau of Customs (BOC).
“I leave it to the independent agencies. There’s the Human Rights [Commission], which [is] making all the lies... And I leave everybody to decide what is right for this country,” he added.
The President was asked for his reaction to detained Senator Leila de Lima statement, which urged him to investigate the “drug smugglers [who] are living right inside his own household,” apparently referring to the younger Duterte and Carpio.
De Lima said Duterte should instead probe his son and son-in-law rather than focus on his political rivals, particularly the members from opposition Liberal Party like Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon and former Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II, who were both linked to the illicit drugs trade.
“Why would you order [Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II] to investigate Drilon and Roxas, if your own son Paolo is connected to tons of smuggled shabu, along with your son-in-law?” the feisty senator said in a statement on Monday.
The presidential son and son-in-law were tagged by Senator Antonio Trillanes IV to the so-called "Davao Group,” which is purportedly behind the smuggling activities at BOC.
The two, however, denied the allegations during the recent Senate blue ribbon committee inquiry into the P6.4-billion worth of shabu smuggled from China.
Self-confessed private broker Mark Taguba linked the Davao City vice mayor and Carpio in the smuggling activities but later on revealed that his testimony was merely based on “hearsay.”
Duterte reiterated his directive to the police to shoot any of his children who will be proven to be involved in illegal activities.
“If they are really guilty, then so be it. When I was mayor, what was my order to the police? Shoot my child [if he commits a crime]. That statement remains. Shoot him if he uses drugs or involved in drugs. Shoot him, [make it] extrajudicial killing if you want, and I can understand,” the Chief Executive said.
“So if they get arrested, arrest them. That’s life. I don’t have to be corny,” he added. (SunStar Philippines)