Broker denies tagging Duterte son, son-in-law in shabu shipment, 'tara' system


Posted at Sep 01 2017 11:30 AM | Updated as of Sep 01 2017 03:59 PM

Mark Taguba apologizes to President's son, son-in-law, calls reports of their involvement in Customs corruption 'fake news'

MANILA (UPDATE) - A customs broker on Friday cleared President Rodrigo Duterte's son, Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte, and his son-in-law Manse Carpio of any involvement in alleged corruption at the Bureau of Customs (BOC). 

Broker Mark Taguba released a statement to the media a day after he appeared at a Senate inquiry and claimed he had given millions in grease money to a "Davao Group" for his shipments. He also said he gave P5 million as "enrollment fee" to Davao Councilor Nilo Abellera, which the latter denied. 

Branding as "fake news" claims of Duterte's and Carpio's involvement, Taguba clarified that he had never testified against the two.

"I had never testified, nor will I ever testify that Vice-Mayor Paolo Duterte and/or Atty. Manse Carpio were involved in the shipment of illegal drugs into the country. Neither have I testified, nor will I ever testify that the aforementioned individuals were involved in the 'tara system' that was in place at the Bureau of Customs," he said in a statement released through his counsel Raymond Fortun.

Taguba said their names only cropped up in his conversations with the Davao Group, whose contacts include a certain "Tita Nannie" and "Jack."

"As I had repeatedly stated before Congress and the Senate, the alleged involvement of the aforementioned individuals are hearsay in nature," he said.

He also denied meeting Duterte or Carpio, "much less discuss any illegal transaction at the Bureau of Customs with them."
"I am making this statement to clear Vice-Mayor Paolo Duterte and Atty. Manse Carpio from any involvement in the shipment of illegal drugs into the country, and any anomalies in the Bureau of Customs," he said.

"I also hereby apologize to Vice-Mayor Duterte, Atty. Carpio and to the first family for the proliferation of fake news arising out of my testimony at the Senate yesterday," he said.

During Thursday's hearing, Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, a fierce Duterte critic, had asked Taguba if Carpio and Paolo Duterte were members of the Davao Group, to which the latter replied: "Iyun po ang sabi nila."


Amid Taguba's clarification, Trillanes said "the public knows what he said or did not say" and that his "clarification" does not change his testimony. The lawmaker noted that Taguba made his testimony in a hearing aired on national television.

"The text messages he read aloud which named Paolo Duterte and Mans Carpio were never forced on him and neither were they fabricated," the senator said in a statement.

"Therefore, Mr. Taguba's clarification doesn't change anything, Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte and Atty. Mans Carpio should still appear before the Blue Ribbon Committee. The effect of his statement is no different from Kian De los Santos' parents doing the fist salute with Duterte," he added, pertaining to the 17-year-old who was slain in a police operation.

Taguba on Thursday testified at the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee's inquiry into the entry of P6.4 billion worth of methamphetamine hydrochloride (shabu) from China to Manila, which supposedly slipped past the BOC's green lane, where security checks are relatively relaxed. 

In his statement, the broker maintained that the container his company had imported did not contain shabu. 

"As I have repeatedly testified, the contents of the container (otherwise known as the 'packing list') which was duly certified to be correct by the port of Xiamen under the ASEAN-China Free Trade Agreement will reflect that it only contained general household items and not the five (5) cylinders where the shabu was discovered," he said.

In a previous Senate hearing, Taguba said the younger Duterte was being "name-dropped" by individuals who had paid "grease money" to Customs officials.

The Vice Mayor dismissed the allegations as "hearsay

Carpio for his part called Trillanes a "desperate rumor monger." 

President Rodrigo Duterte has said he would resign if any of his children are proven corrupt. Malacañang meanwhile challenged critics to back their accusations with evidence.