MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday defended his son and son-in-law against Sen. Antonio Trillanes' allegations that they were involved in corrupt activities at the Bureau of Customs (BOC).
Trillanes had, in particular, accused Duterte's son-in-law, lawyer Manse Carpio, of having transactions with the BOC, citing his appearances at the bureau.
The President said Carpio, husband of Duterte's daughter Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, was only doing his job as a lawyer. Carpio had earlier explained he had clients with transactions at the BOC.
"Kami hong mga abogado, lawyering is lawyering. Hindi ka magkaroon ng motive na tumanggap ito for whatever reason," said Duterte, a former prosecutor.
"Abogado 'yan pati ang balae ko. Lawyering is lawyering," Duterte said in a speech at the 11th founding anniversary of the military's Eastern Mindanao Command in Davao City.
The President also asserted that evidence should be shown to prove that his son Paolo is guilty of corruption.
"Now itong anak kong si Pulong, sinabi ko, bigyan niyo ako ng affidavit, may camera, may audio mas maganda, at narinig ko "ito bayad sa ano'," he said.
"I have assured you, noon pa, pag-upo ko, kasi importante yan eh, your trust. Sabi ko kung itong mga anak ko masabit sa corruption, pinangalanan ko si Pulong, Inday pati si Sebastian, because I am only responsible only for my sons and daughters," he added.
In a Senate hearing, customs broker Mark Taguba had said the younger Duterte and Carpio were "name-dropped" by individuals who had paid "grease money" to Customs officials for the release of shipments.
Taguba has since cleared the Vice Mayor and Carpio of any involvement in alleged corruption at the BOC.
Trillanes, a minority senator and fierce Duterte critic, on Thursday pressed the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee to summon the younger Duterte and Carpio to its ongoing inquiry on BOC corruption.
But majority senators, the panel chair Sen. Richard Gordon and Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III, said Taguba should first show solid proof against the two.
In his speech, Duterte dismissed Trillanes' evidence, calling it "trash."
"Now, kung may ebidensya, ‘wag yung kay Trillanes kasi basura naman talaga lahat ‘yan," he said.
The President again said he was willing to step down if the Filipino people no longer find him honest and credible.
"Pagdating ng panahon na nakita niyo ako binobola ko kayo, you are free to advise me to step down or I myself would step down," said Duterte.
"Kapag ako nawalan ng silbi at hindi na kayo maniwala sa aking mga salita, if you no longer find any honor in my words, then there is no reason why I have to insist on leading a country," he added.