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Drilon suggests reopening drug probe vs Paolo Duterte

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Thursday, April 4th, 2019

(L-R) Presidential son, Paolo Duterte and Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon

MANILA, Philippines – Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon believes the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee should resume its investigation on illegal drugs amid fresh allegations against former Davao City vice mayor and presidential son, Paolo Duterte.

Drilon made the statement after a video linking the younger Duterte to the illegal drug trade circulated online.

“It is best that the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee resume its investigation in order that those named in the video, particularly Mr. Duterte and [Agriculture] Undersecretary [Waldo] Carpio can clear their names,” Drilon told reporters at a Kapihan forum in the Senate.

On Tuesday (April 2), a video titled “Ang Totoong Narcolist-Episode 1” which supposedly details Paolo’s links to the narcotics trade made rounds on social media.

In the six-minute video, a narrator showed a “tara” or the list of principals and their monthly kickbacks that were deposited in the alleged drug lords’ bank accounts.

The list also contains their code names, including “POLODELTA-TSG01,” which the narrator claimed referred to Paolo Duterte as represented by his initials.

The video also tagged Waldo Reyes Carpio as the owner of the said bank accounts used as Duterte’s dummy in the drug transaction.

Waldo Reyes Carpio is an undersecretary at the Department of Agriculture and the brother of Atty. Manases Carpio, Paolo’s brother-in-law and husband of Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio.

A certain “Bikoy” who claimed to be a member of the drug syndicate appeared in the video and made the accusations against Duterte and Carpio.

Duterte on Wednesday lashed out on a certain “J.S.” whom he alleged as the one behind the video circulating online.

“POLO DELTA – PAOLO DUTERTE? WOW ha kung makaimbento ka wagas. Galit ka kay Waldo (Carpio) kasi binabara niya lahat ng smuggling mo ng bigas at asukal diba J.S.,” Duterte wrote on his Facebook account.

He also belied the allegations, calling it baseless and the list invented. He also said the accuser was just trying to copy the claims previously made by opposition Senator Antonio Trillanes IV.

READ: Paolo Duterte denies receiving kickbacks from drug syndicates

Drilon said the probe would clear up details and provide an avenue for Duterte and Carpio to disprove the allegations against them.

“Sino ba si J.S.? May ebidensya ba or dokumento ba si JS?” he asked.

“The Senate Blue Ribbon Committee will provide him [Duterte] with the opportunity to disprove all of these allegations which to him are invented and unfounded,” Drilon added.

The Senate panel conducted a hearing in 2017 on the P6.4-billion shabu shipment that slipped past the Bureau of Customs (BOC). Customs Broker Mark Taguba had alleged that Paolo and his brother-in-law Lawyer Manases Carpio were behind the Davao group that facilitated smuggling in the BOC.

Duterte had denied involvement in the drug smuggling. He also refused to show the alleged tattoo on his back, which Trillanes claimed will prove his being a member of “triad” or international crime syndicate.

Duterte had filed libel cases against Trillanes for making such claims.

READ: Paolo Duterte slaps libel raps vs Trillanes

In a new statement, Duterte vowed to file more charges against the opposition Senator, whom he believes is among those behind the fresh drug claims against him.

“He may deny it, but the video supposedly showing my involvement in the illegal drug trade in the country has been clearly stamped with the indelible Trillanes signature of being a desperate mercenary, one who has done nothing good but attack the government,” he said.

“I have filed cases against Mr. Trillanes for ruining my name. I will file another string of cases for his continued attempts to destroy my reputation,” he added.

He also dared Trillanes anew to show proof of his allegations against him.

“And no, I will not show the tattoo on my back and make things easier for Mr. Trillanes. Instead, I dare him and everyone behind the stupid and empty video exposé to back their claims against me,” Duterte said.

“If there’s anything admirable about Mr. Antonio Trillanes, it is his relentlessness and talent to turn the absurd into something ridiculous, if not bizarrely entertaining,” he said. – Robie de Guzman (with details from Nel Maribojoc)

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Duterte laid proposed charter change to rest – Drilon

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Tuesday, July 23rd, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon believes that President Rodrigo Duterte has already laid the proposed Charter change to rest when he left it out of his fourth State of the Nation Address (SONA).

Drilon said the president’s silence on federalism indicates that charter change is not a priority of the Duterte administration anymore.

“What’s more telling in the President’s speech is not what he said but what he did not say. That speaks volumes. For me, the non-inclusion of federalism indicates that the Cha-cha was laid to rest yesterday. The SONA became Cha-cha’s ‘final resting place,'” Drilon said in a statement on Tuesday.

Duterte has been pushing for federalism and charter change since he came to power in 2016. But during his media interview after the SONA on Monday night, the president said federalism and the proposal to amend the 1987 Constitution may not happen during his term.

READ: Duterte leaves out Cha-cha, federalism in 4th SONA

House Speaker Allan Peter Cayetano earlier said he would push to extend the term of office of lawmakers.

But based on the chief executive’s statement, Drilon said those who have plans to revive Charter change in the 18th Congress “should better think twice.”

“It will be an exercise in futility,” he said.

Meanwhile, the senator also expressed support to some of Duterte’s “wish-list” to Congress, except for his call to reimpose the death penalty in the country.

“We do not agree that death penalty is the solution to our illegal drugs and corruption problems. Death penalty is anti-poor,” Drilon said, adding that what needs to be done is strengthen the country’s justice system which he describes as “weak,” and “very prone to error.”

“We may not always see eye to eye with the President on certain issues, but in terms of legislation that will benefit the country, we are always ready to support him,” he further said.

The lawmaker said he is supporting Duterte’s proposed salary standardization law, the increase in teacher’s salary and the creation of a water department.

He said two of his pet bills call for the increase in the salary of teachers and the creation of the Philippine Water Commission to manage and regulate the country’s water resources.

Drilon also said they are also ready to examine all the other measures stated in the SONA.

“We are willing to listen and take a look at the proposals on the proposed tax reform law, the Land Use Act and the creation of the disaster management department,” he said.

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Cayetano formally elected as House Speaker, vows to ‘do what is right’

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Monday, July 22nd, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Members of the House of Representatives have formally elected Taguig-Pateros Representative Alan Peter Cayetano as their next leader when the regular session of the 18th Congress opened on Monday (July 22).

With a vote of 266, Cayetano defeated his lone opponent for Speaker, Manila Representative Bienvenido “Benny” Abante who only received 28 votes.

Two solons abstained while one voted “no” to either nominations.

During the election, Cayetano was nominated by his former speakership rivals, Marinduque Representative Lord Allan Velasco, Leyte Representative Martin Romualdez and Davao City Representative Paolo Duterte.

Abante was nominated by Iloilo Representative Janet Garin and AKO BICOL party-list Representative Alfredo Garbin.

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier endorsed Cayetano’s bid for speakership, who will share the term with Velasco. The president proposed that Cayetano lead the House for 15 months and be succeeded by Velasco for the remaining 21 months.

Cayetano vowed to uphold the term-sharing agreement.

“Sana po ako’y maging worthy at sana po ay tulungan niyo ako para sa loob ng 15 na buwan ay mapagsilbihan po natin ang ating mga kababayang Mabuti,” he said in his speech after his election.

(I hope to be worthy and I hope you will help me during the 15 months to serve our people well.)

The newly-elected speaker also assured that the House of Representatives, under his helm, will be a partner of the Duterte administration.

“The House of Representatives, the House of the People are partners with the Duterte administration,” he said.

“We are partners in pursuing a better life for all Filipinos, whether we talk about teachers, about senior citizens, about young people, OFWs, professionals, our teachers, government workers, workers in the private sectors, or out-of-school youth, rich or poor, young or old, of whatever persuasion, of whatever religion, we are all connected and united,” he elaborated.

Aside from his assurance to remain as the Duterte administration’s ally, Cayetano also called on House members to unite and to do what is right.

“Tayo po ang takbuhan ng sambayanan. We will do what is right, so that we will have a Congress that is relevant, responsive and reliable… United and we commit to God, our people the work of the 18th Congress,” he said.

Still in line with the president’s endorsement, Romualdez was elected on Monday as House Majority Leader.

Meanwhile, Presidential son, Paolo was elected as one of the 11 deputy speakers of the House of Representatives along with Representatives Ferdinand Hernandez, Evelina Escudero, Loren Legarda, Conrad Estrella III, Prospero Pichay Jr., Roberto Puno, Eduardo Villanueva, Aurelio Gonzales Jr., Johnny Pimentel and Luis Raymond Villafuerte.

Davao City 3rd District Representative Isidro Ungab was elected as chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations while Cavite Representative Abraham Tolentino was voted as chairman of the Committee on Accounts.

The lower House also elected Jose Luis Montales as Secretary General and Retired Gen. Ramon Apolinario as Sergeant-at-Arms.

The election for Speakership inside the House Plenary hall this year did not have any ruckus compared to last year after House members ousted then-speaker, Davao del Norte Representative Pantaleon Alvarez and replaced him with then-Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Last year’s Speakership squabble delayed Duterte’s third State of the Nation Address by an hour.

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Sara, Baste Duterte to skip father’s fourth SONA

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Thursday, July 18th, 2019

(L-R) Davao City Vice Mayor Sebastian “Baste” Duterte and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio

MANILA, Philippines – Two of President Rodrigo Duterte’s children will not be attending this year’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) slated on the afternoon of July 22 (Monday).

Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio and her brother, Davao City Vice Mayor Sebastian “Baste” Duterte, in separate press statements, said they will be missing the event at the Batasang Pambansa.

Sara said she is on a 60-day medical leave.

“It’s a gyne (gynecological) condition,” she said in a text message to reporters.

Meanwhile, Baste said he would have to attend the regular session of the Sangguniang Panlungsod of Davao.

The presidential son added he would just stay in the city and watch the event on television.

“Ako dili ko maka-attend ug SONA kay naa man gud tay session sa Tuesday ana so murag kapoy na pud nga mubalik pa ko ug sayo diri sa buntag so diri na lang ko, tan-aw na lang ko sa TV,” Baste said in a press briefing.

(I won’t be attending the SONA because we will have a session on Tuesday. It would be tiring for me to travel back to Davao early in the morning from Manila. So, I will just stay here, I’ll watch the event on TV.)

On the other hand, their eldest brother, Davao City 1st District Representative Paolo Duterte is expected to be present at the ceremony as he will attend the opening of the regular session of the 18th Congress on the morning of July 22.  

Last year, all members of the Duterte family were present during the gathering.

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