Paolo Duterte's camp: no regrets attending Senate probe despite 'unfair' questioning

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 07 2017 05:47 PM

Lawyer Rainier Madrid, legal counsel for Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte, told ABS-CBN News their camp does not regret attending the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee hearing on alleged corruption at the Bureau of Customs. Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte's legal counsel on Thursday said he does not regret advising his client to attend a Senate probe where his bank accounts and body marks were placed under scrutiny.

"The unfairness of it all is that when you appear in the Senate, the senator can say anything, can propagandize," said lawyer Rainier Madrid. 

He spoke to ABS-CBN News after the nearly 4-hour hearing on the P6.4-billion shabu shipment through the Manila port, which has exposed alleged corruption at the Bureau of Customs (BOC). 

During the hearing, Senator Antonio Trillanes IV had alleged that President Rodrigo Duterte's eldest son and his brother-in-law, Manases Carpio, husband of Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, kept millions in several bank accounts.

Both Duterte and Carpio refused to waive their bank secrecy rights. They earlier denied Trillanes' allegations.

"Vice Mayor Duterte has no written affidavit as he has no facts to reveal," his camp said in a statement released hours after the Senate hearing. 

"We will not play his game just to clear our name. What is there to clear? He is fishing information from us because he doesn't have the information," Madrid said in an interview.

Madrid said Trillanes' attempt to expose Duterte's and Carpio's bank records was the same move the senator had pulled against the President prior to his election in 2016.

At the height of the campaign, the senator, then running for Vice President, had accused the then frontrunner in the presidential race of keeping billions in several bank accounts.

"He couldn't hit the President before with the BPI incident, now he wants to hurt the President via his son, the weakest link," Madrid said.

At Thursday's hearing, Trillanes also alleged that Duterte was a member of the triad, an international crime syndicate, citing a supposed "colored dragon tattoo" on the latter's back as proof.

The Vice Mayor admitted that he has a tattoo but refused Trillanes' request for him to show it, invoking his right to privacy.

"My client refuses to be an "uto-uto" (gullible)... I will not allow my client to be humiliated under such a silly circumstance," Madrid said.

"We do not want to dignify Trillanes' accusations and fishing expedition. The issue discussed in the committee is not the existence of the tattoo," he added. 

Duterte's camp will not file charges against Trillanes even as they alleged that he has been "spreading baseless rumors and propaganda" against the Davao City Vice Mayor, as the senator enjoys "legislative privilege."

Under Senate rules, lawmakers may "not be held liable in any other place for any speech or debate in Congress or in any committee."

"He (Trillanes) has the valid forum. My job is just to expose him as a hoax, a military propagandist who always refers to unvalidated intel," Madrid said.

"His propaganda is the President is the drug lord, is corrupt, and is a killer. That's his propaganda all along because he hates the President because he wasn't chosen as his Vice President," he added.