MANILA, Philippines – Days after his eldest son's name was dragged into the Bureau of Customs (BOC) controversy, President Rodrigo Duterte warned that he would fire any government official who will connive with his children in corrupt acts.
"Kaya sabi ko, kung sinuman 'yung official (That's why I said, any official) who entertains the intervention of any of my sons and daughter that is enough for me, I will fire you," said Duterte on Wednesday night, August 9, during the 2017 Sulong Pilipinas forum in Mandaluyong City.
The President added that he will file charges against officials and even his son or daughter if they fill their pockets at the expense of government.
"And I will press charges against you and my relative, whoever he is, and you'll have the luxury of seeing me go down," he said.
He was reacting to a Customs broker, among the key resource persons in Congress hearings about a P6.4-billion shabu shipment from China, who claimed that Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte or "Pulong" was being "name-dropped"by individuals in the BOC.
"Pati 'yung anak ko ngayon sinasali diyan sa Customs. I told you before and I'm telling you now again, kung sino sa anak ko ma-involve sa corruption, I will immediately resign. That, you have my word," said Duterte.
(Even my son is being included in the Customs issue. I told you before and I'm telling you now again, if any of my children are involved in corruption, I will immediately resign. That, you have my word.)
But he added that, anyway, he doesn't "need" the presidency.
"I don't need this job. I mean, I have enough," he said.
Duterte, however, did not directly refute or deny the claims of Customs broker Mark Taguba.
It's not the first time that Paolo Duterte has been linked to smuggling. Former Davao City policeman Arthur Lascañas, in Senate hearings, said Paolo was involved in a shipment of shabu also from China.
Last March, Lascañas said the younger Duterte asked for his help in speeding up the release of a supposed furniture shipment from China.
Lascañas said during the same hearing that a certain Davao-based "Charlie Tan," whom Paolo had met in China, had asked that he insert "souvenirs" in the container van.
Paolo then suspected that drugs – shabu in particular – had been inserted in the container van, Lascañas said.
Tan was supposed to have been arrested on the spot after the van was to be opened, but according to Lascañas, Paolo instead called him up and said he would take care of Tan himself.
Resigning for 'Pulong'?
It's not the first time either that the President is putting his position on the line for Paolo.
Back when he was congressman, Duterte offered to resign after Paolo had been accused of mauling a hotel security guard.
When Duterte learned about the incident, he said Paolo must face the consequences of his actions and that the guard should file charges. The guard was understandably afraid and did not bother to file charges.
When Duterte learned about it, he offered to resign. This was rejected by then president Joseph Estrada.
And just as Duterte says now that he has no need for the presidency, he has frequently admitted he did not enjoy being a congressman. – Rappler.com