Sara Duterte stands by brother amid alleged involvement in Customs mess

Hernel Tocmo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 15 2017 04:13 PM

DAVAO CITY - Davao City mayor Sara Duterte believes allegations against her brother, Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte, who was dragged into the controversial P6.4 billion shabu shipment, are not true.

"I believe hindi totoo yung mga sinasabi, kasi kung totoo yun, meron talaga silang ebidensya at di nila sasabihin na narinig lang," the mayor said in an interview after the opening of Kadayawan festival Monday evening.

(I believe the allegations against him are not true because if it were true, it would have been backed by evidence, not simply hearsay.)

"Mas maganda siguro kung siya ang tanungin niyo, para masagot niya yung mga tanong at mabigay ang side niya sa istorya," she added.

(It would be better if you ask him so he can answer and give you his side of the story.)

In an investigation at the House of Representatives, private broker Mark Taguba named the presidential son and Filipino-Chinese businessman Kenneth Dong as he detailed supposed corrupt practices in the Bureau of Customs.

Dong was identified by Taguba as the "middleman" of Chinese businessman Richard Tan, whose company in China, Hong Fei, consolidated the goods to be shipped to Manila.

Duterte, meanwhile, was allegedly the backer of the "Davao Group" where personalities involved in bribery activities, like a certain "Tita Nani," operate.

Photos of Dong and Duterte have been circulating on social media, prompting critics to suggest that President Rodrigo Duterte's eldest son could be involved in illegal activities.

Paolo described Taguba's allegations as hearsay. "One does not dignify lies with a response," Duterte had said in a statement.

The President earlier said that he would step down if it is proven that anyone among his children is involved in corrupt practices, and dared his son’s accusers to “produce the paper” that will prove his guilt.