MANILA -- "I am not David Tan."
This was the statement given by Davidson Bangayan, whose name made news headlines after he was tagged as alleged rice smuggling king David Tan.
In an interview with ABS-CBN's "TV Patrol" on Tuesday, Bangayan denied that he and Tan are just one person and claimed that he does not know who Tan is.
"Hindi po [ako si David Tan]. Ako po si Davidson Bangayan. Hindi ko kilala si David Tan," he said.
He said he decided to surface at the Department of Justice (DOJ) and clear his name to Secretary Leila de Lima Tuesday morning after he saw his photos tagged as David Tan in news reports.
Bangayan denied any involvement in rice smuggling operations in the country, but said he is willing to cooperate with the investigation being conducted by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).
"Sinabi ko po sa kanya (de Lima) na handa po akong humarap kung anumang mga imbestigasyon, kung ipatatawag po nila ko. Hindi po ako nagtatago dahil andito lang ako at anytime makikipag-cooperate po ako," he said.
Bangayan said his business is related to agriculture and metals trading.
Bangayan also said that he is not based in Davao City, contrary to the claim of Jess Arranza, president of the Federation of Philippine Industries.
"Taga-dito lang po ako sa Manila. Actually ang magulang ko tubong Tuguegarao," he said.
Bangayan said he will file a libel case against Arranza on Monday for saying that David Tan is his alias.
Arranza earlier said Bangayan, who he described as a Chinese-Filipino from Davao City, was a scrap metal trader before going into rice smuggling.
The NBI also said Tan and Bangayan are one and the same person.
Bangayan was arrested for alleged electricity pilferage, shortly after he met with the justice secretary and executed his affidavit in connection with the NBI's probe into rice smuggling.
A warrant of arrest issued by Caloocan City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 126 Judge Lorenza Bordios-Paculdo, dated Oct. 11, 2010, was the basis for Bangayan's arrest, according to de Lima.
However, Bangayan later left the NBI, insisting that the warrant for David Tan, and which specifically states that it is not for Davidson Bangayan, was not intended for him.