Detail from photo from Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – President Rodrigo Duterte's son-in-law Manases Carpio confirmed that he made visits to the Bureau of Customs (BOC) but said they had nothing to do with smuggling.
"I represent many clients who have transactions with the Bureau of Customs. It is my job as a lawyer to appear before government agencies for and on behalf of my principals," said Carpio in a statement posted on his Facebook account.
The statement was posted on Tuesday, August 29, the day of a Senate investigation in which a BOC official and Senator Antonio Trillanes IV claimed Carpio visited the office of former customs chief Nicanor Faeldon. (READ: Faeldon: I never committed, tolerated corruption)
Trillanes said this was proof that Carpio is involved in smuggling, along with Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte, son of the President. (READ: Paolo Duterte's 'friend' denies involvement in P6.4-B smuggled shabu)
Carpio works as a lawyer based in Davao City.
Carpio, husband of Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, said the senator was jumping to conclusions about his visits to the BOC.
Ombudsman vows objectivity
"Senator Trillanes is imputing malice in saying that my appearance before the BOC is because of smuggling," he said.
"He is just a desperate rumormonger who happens to be a senator," said Carpio.
Trillanes, at the Senate hearing, said Carpio was part of the so-called Davao Group and that he and Paolo Duterte were involved in the smuggling of P6.4 billion worth of shabu from China. (READ: TIMELINE: How P6.4B worth of shabu was smuggled into PH from China)
Meanwhile, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales, paternal aunt of Manases, vowed to pursue any case filed against her relatives in government as she would any other case.
"I am neither privy nor updated on the activities of my relatives in Davao," she said, and "I inhibit from issues that may lead to cases vs Duterte."
However, she made clear: "Certainly, a complaint filed against any of my own relatives holding public office will be dealt with as with other similar cases...according to the applicable law and the evidence. – Rappler.com
Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.