Presidential son, son-in-law to attend Senate hearing

DAVAO CITY — Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte and his brother-in-law, Atty. Manases “Mans” Carpio, will attend the hearing of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee on September 7 regarding the alleged smuggling and corruption at the Bureau of Customs (BoC).

In a joint statement to the media Monday, Duterte and Carpio, husband of Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, confirmed receiving an invitation from the Senate to attend the committee hearing on Thursday.

“We duly recognize the coercive powers of the Senate of the Philippines as part of the legislative branch of government and their authority to conduct an inquiry in aid of legislation,” they said in the statement.

But Paolo and Carpio emphasized they are committed to respect the invitation and attend the hearing.

This developed after President Rodrigo Duterte told reporters here he would want his son and son-in-law to appear before the Senate if invited to the hearings on alleged corruption at the BoC.

However, in an interview late Saturday night, Duterte hinted it would be a futile exercise because the vice mayor and Carpio can always invoke their right to silence.

The President said the two can even go to court if they are cited for contempt for failure to answer questions in the Senate investigation.

“Ako, ang advice ko kay Pulong? ‘Punta ka doon, then pagdating mo and he questions, sabihin mo lang na, I will not answer you, I’m invoking my right of silence kasi nung eleksyon pa, hindi pa Presidente ang tatay ko, binibira mo na kami (For me, my advice to Pulong? Go there, if you’re there and he (Senator Antonio Trillanes) questions, just say, I will not answer you, I’m invoking my right of silence because since election, before my father became president, you were already hitting us),” Duterte said when asked by reporters what advice he would give Paolo and Carpio if they are invited by the Senate.

Duterte had pointed out that Trillanes already assumed for the longest time that Paolo and Carpio are behind the so-called Davao group linked to BOC’s smuggling and ‘tara’ system.

Calling Trillanes an idiot with an IQ of six, Duterte dared the senator to get his own evidence instead of relying on other people’s statements.

“So if you want evidence, Mr. Trililing, do not get it from the mouth of other people. Go somewhere else. Yung tinitira mo, gusto mo ring ipitin. Hindi ka abogado, hindi ka marunong niyan (Those you are hitting, you also want to pin down. You are not a lawyer, you do not know about it),” he said.

Duterte said Trillanes cannot punish a person or take any inference when a person invokes a constitutional right. Trillanes, Duterte said, is just on a fishing expedition.