MANILA — Although the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee probe on the PHP 6.4-billion shabu shipment has yet to come to a close, Senator Richard Gordon said that his committee will be submitting a preliminary report on the issue on Monday.
“Kinokompleto nalang namin. Sa Monday, meron na tayong [preliminary] report (We are completing it. On Monday, we will already have a committee report),” Gordon told reporters in an interview.
Ang preliminary report ko on drugs and a little bit on ‘tara’ [bribery] (My preliminary report will be about drugs and a little bit on the bribery in the Bureau of Customs). There will be a final report,” he added.
Gordon, meanwhile, denied claims of Senator Antonio Trillanes IV that he gave preferential treatment on resource persons to invite to the Senate hearings into the illegal shipment.
He also denied Trillanes’ claim that he was leading a “committee de abswelto” or a committee that immediately acquitted “malalaking tao (big people).”
“That’s without basis,” Gordon said.
The senator said that he will definitely pursue filing an ethics complaint against Trillanes on Monday, the same day he will submit his preliminary committee report on the shabu issue.
“A Senator is supposed to act in the most cordial and most gentlemanly manner. I already forgave him the first time he even came to my office to apologize. Hindi pwedeng ganyan lagi (He can’t be like that all the time),” he added.
Gordon and Trillanes got into a heated argument during the probe after Trillanes motioned to invite presidential son-in-law and husband of Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, Manases Carpio and presidential son and Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte to the Senate hearing.
Carpio and Duterte have both been tagged by Customs broker and fixer Mark Taguba to the illegal shipment.
Trillanes said there is “enough information” that would warrant the invitation of both Carpio and Duterte. However, Gordon argued that the Senate is “not a cockpit of chismis (rumors).”
Asked what conditions would warrant the invitation of Carpio and Duterte to the next Senate hearing, Gordon said that he needed to hear from any of the resource persons that the two were directly involved in the facilitation of drugs.
“The moment he [the source person] says ‘ako, nakausap ko si Paolo at sinabi ko sa kanya, tulungan mo at sinabi niya tutulungan kita, bibigyan kita ng pera. Swak na ‘yan. ‘Eto ang sinabi lang, mga tao ito ni Paolo, Davao Group ‘yan. Hindi tayo nagco-convict ng tao without evidence (The moment the resource persons says ‘I spoke to Paolo and I told him to help and he agreed to help. That would be enough. But he only said that these men worked for Paolo, that they were members of the Davao Group. But we don’t convict people without evidence),” Gordon added.
Gordon explained that upon Trillanes’ request, his committee even invited Davao City Councilor Nilo “Small” Abellera Jr. to shed light on the issue.
Abellera denied anew his participation on the illegal shipment and his being a member of the so-called “Davao Group,” which Taguba claimed facilitated the shipment.
“Dumating si Abellera, di ba pinapatawag niya siya? Nagtanong ba siya? (Abellera came. Didn’t Trillanes ask to call for him? But did he ask questions?)” Gordon asked.
Gordon said Abellera was invited to the Senate hearing “out of respect to the public” to find out whether in fact the family of President Rodrigo Duterte is involved.
But he said that Trillanes seemed to have been “forcing” resource persons to tag Carpio and Duterte to the issue.
“Pinipilit niya kasi. Hindi naman abogado kaya di niya alam kung paano magtanong. Kung ano gusto niya at hindi niya nakuha, magagalit siya (He’s forcing it. He’s not a lawyer that’s why he doesn’t know how to ask questions. When he wants something and doesn’t get it, he gets angry),” Gordon said.
The next Senate hearing will be on September 25. (With Ma. Angela Coloma-OJT/PNA)