MANILA - The Department of Justice (DOJ) said Thursday it would first review any request for the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to conduct a lifestyle check on personalities tagged in the P6.4-billion shabu shipment from China, including President Rodrigo Duterte's son and son-in-law.
“I will see if the same is called for. In other words, I will determine the basis for such order. Besides, the report is only a draft,” Justice Secretary Aguirre said in a statement, in reference to a draft Senate committee report.
In a leaked unsigned draft of its report on the drug shipment, the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee recommended a lifestyle check on President Rodrigo Duterte's son, Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte, and son-in-law, Manases Carpio.
The two had been tagged in smuggling and the illegal drug trade and appeared before the committee's inquiry into the shabu shipment to deny the charges.
The Vice Mayor dismissed the allegations as "hearsay," while Carpio called Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, one of the President's fiercest critics, a "desperate rumor monger" for "imputing malice" in his visits to the customs bureau.
The DOJ noted that the lifestyle check was recommended even as the draft Senate report stated that there was "no evidence to establish their connection to the smuggling of the subject 'shabu,' and similar shipments or any other contraband."
“Personalities who, due to their close relationships to persons possessing high authority, are held to higher standards of accountability to the people precisely because of such close relationships," part of the draft report read.
“Perhaps this is an opportunity, in aid of legislation, to shed light into this area. In this administration, a similar pattern has emerged, with certain members of the First Family being linked to this sordid affair,” it added.
Customs fixer Mark Taguba, who brokered the 600-kilogram shipment, earlier tagged the younger Duterte and Carpio in the alleged "Davao Group," which he purportedly bribed to facilitate the release of illegal shipments through the Bureau of Customs.
Taguba later clarified that Duterte and Carpio's alleged involvement in the corruption controversy was "hearsay in nature."