No proof linking Davao Group to P6.4-billion shabu shipment – Gordon
MANILA, Philippines – Senate blue ribbon committee chairman Richard Gordon wrapped up the probe into the P6.4 billion worth of shabu smuggled from China and said the shipment has no links to the so-called Davao Group.
After 9 hearings, Gordon said he would make a preliminary report on the illegal drug shipment this week.
He said the committee would now focus on the corruption in the Bureau of Customs (BOC) following the privilege speech of Senator Panfilo Lacson on the "tara" system, supposedly led by former commissioner Nicanor Faeldon. He set the next hearing on Monday, September 25.
"Papasok na kami kay kuwan ('tara'), pero binitin ko nang konti. Hindi namin bibitiwan 'yung drugs 'pag may pumasok na bago. Pero sa drugs mag-re-report na ako," Gordon told reporters.
(We will now discuss the "tara" system but we will not drop the issue of drugs if something new comes up. But for the shabu smuggling, I will already release a report.)
"We will continue to investigate, sabi ko nga may nakalawit eh (there are still some dangling issues). Tapos na ako sa drugs para lang magkaroon na ako ng report pero 'yung sa drugs kung may lalabas hahabulin namin (I'm already done with the issue of drugs but if there is a new development, we will pursue it)," he added.
Cases against those involved in the shabu shipment will also be pursued, according to the senator.
"I will close the meeting on drugs but we will not abandon pursuit [of] the cases filed with respect to drugs. We will continue to pursue that even if we terminate this hearing," Gordon said.
The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) earlier filed a criminal complaint against Faeldon and 11 others before the Department of Justice (DOJ) in connection with the shabu shipment.
"We will not hesitate to drop the hammer on anyone. We will write the Ombudsman, the Supreme Court, and we will make sure the report on this investigation will be given to them," Gordon said.
Asked if the Davao Group's supposed involvement in the shipment will be part of the report, Gordon said there was no evidence presented against them.
Opposition Senator Antonio Trillanes IV had accused presidential son, Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte, and son-in-law Manases Carpio of being involved in smuggling. The two attended the Senate probe once and denied the accusations.
Aside from the two, the Davao Group also allegedly includes a certain Tita Nanie, who has close ties in the BOC; Paolo Duterte's friend, Councilor Nilo "Small" Abellera Jr; and a certain "Jack," who is said to be the young Duterte's "handler."
"What will figure prominently is the drug investigation... He (Trillanes) was not able to say anything when the people (Paolo Duterte and Carpio) were here. The minority was there and they said they can go home so we were not able to get anything that will be included in the report," Gordon said.
The identity of Tita Nanie remains a mystery. There have been at least 4 names floated, but so far, the closest names would be "Nani Cabato," according to Lacson, and "Nanie Cabatu Coronacion," according to Trillanes. (READ: Who is the real Tita Nanie? 3 out of 4 names stricken off the list)
"Wala pa kaming nakukuha kay Tita Nanie. Pinapahanap ko pa 'yan. Pinasok ko dumating na eroplano noong 18, walang dumating... Sinasabing 17 at walang babaeng nagpi-fit kay Nanie do'n. Sa Clark may bidding ng generator pero 'di namin makita kung ando'n 'yung Nanie. Kailangan talaga meron tayo makuha na magtuturo kay Nanie," Gordon said.
(We have not gotten anything about Tita Nanie. I am looking for her. I entered an airplane that arrived on the 18th but nothing turned up. They said on the 17th but no woman fit Nanie's description. In Clark, there was a bidding of generators but we did not see Nanie there. We really need to get someone who can point to Nanie.)
Gordon earlier denied protecting President Rodrigo Duterte and the President's family, as he has maintained he was just looking at the evidence. In 2016, Gordon, also the justice committee chairman, cleared the President of any liability in the spate of extrajudicial killings in the country. – Rappler.com