MANILA - The Senate will detain 2 Chinese businessmen until they tell the truth about the smuggling into the country of P6.4 billion worth of "shabu" from China last May, Senator Richard Gordon said Wednesday.
Chaired by Gordon, the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee cited in contempt Richard Chen, or Richard Tan, and Manny Li for allegedly lying and giving evasive answers during a Tuesday hearing into the 600-kilogram drug shipment.
Both businessmen were detained at the office of the Senate sergeant at arms.
"They will stay there until we get the truth from them. Sapagkat mukhang 'di sila nagasabi ng totoo," Gordon said.
Tan owns the Valenzuela City warehouse where the drug shipment ended up. Li, meanwhile, served as his broker in the questioned shipment.
The two gave inconsistent statements about a packing list for the shipment, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Regional Director Wilkins Villanueva told senators.
Villanueva said the shipment's original packing list contained 14 items when Tan gave it to Li. But when Li gave it to Kenneth Dong, an alleged middleman, only 5 items were left.
During his DZMM interview, Gordon said Tan, who spoke through an interpreter, lied about his fluency in Filipino.
"Nag-uusap sila ng kanyang abogado. Sabi ko, 'Kala ko di ka marunong magsalita ng Tagalog? Naririnig kong nag-uusap kayo ng Tagalog ng abogado mo,'" Gordon said.
"Sabi ko sa abogado, marunong ka bang mag-Chinese? 'Hindi ho.'
The senator added that Tan is married to a Filipina and has lived in the Philippines for some 20 years now.
"Hindi maaaring hindi marunong umintindi at hindi marunong magsalita nang kahit kaunti," he said.
The Senate investigation into the controversy is set to resume Tuesday, August 15.
DZMM TeleRadyo, 10 August 2017