MANILA - Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II said Wednesday his agency would not mount any investigation against President Rodrigo Duterte's son and son-in-law unless Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV could present evidence that they were involved in corruption at the Bureau of Customs (BOC).
Trillanes, citing informants, earlier claimed that Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte and his brother-in-law Atty. Mans Carpio, husband of Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, were involved in facilitating the release of questionable shipments in exchange for millions of pesos in grease money.
Aguirre said Trillanes has no solid proof in insinuating that the President's relatives were involved in a "family affair" of corruption.
"Pinalalaki lang, ginagawa nilang family affair daw 'yung anomalies d'yan sa Customs. Ang gusto ni Senator Trillanes, basta ikaw ay nabanggit ang pangalan mo doon, katulad ni Vice Mayor Paolo at Atty. Mans Carpio, gusto nang ikabit sa mga anomalies," Aguirre said in a chance interview.
"Kung ikaw ay magre-request, magpakita ka muna ng ebidensya para mayroon kaming basis na ipatawag iyan dito."
(The allegations are being overblown, they want to make it appear that a family affair is behind anomalies at Customs. Senator Trillanes wants to link Vice Mayor Paolo and Atty. Mans Carpio to the anomalies based on the mere mention of their name. If you want an investigation, show proof first so that we'd have basis to summon them.)
Alleged BOC anomalies are at the heart of separate Senate and House of Representatives inquiries triggered by the discovery of a P6.4-billion drug shipment that slipped past the Manila port.
During Thursday's Senate hearing, Customs broker Mark Taguba affirmed that he bribed the "Davao Group," allegedly led by Duterte and Carpio, to bring in questionable shipments into the country.
Duterte dismissed the allegations as "hearsay." Carpio, for his part, called Trillanes a "desperate rumor monger."
President Rodrigo Duterte meanwhile earlier said he would resign if any of his children are proven to be involved in corruption.-- With reports from Johnson Manabat, ABS-CBN News