Mark Taguba. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO/GRIG C. MONTEGRANDE
Broker Mark Ruben Taguba II has apologized to presidential son Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte and his brother-in-law Manases Carpio for the “fake news” circulating that the two were involved in the P6.4-billion shipment of illegal drugs that went past the inspection of the Bureau of Customs (BOC).
Taguba, in a statement on Friday, cleared Duterte and Carpio from any corrupt activities within the Customs.
Taguba is the broker tagged as one of those who facilitated the shipment of 605 kilograms of drugs from Xiamen, China. He denied that he knew that the container he delivered had drugs inside.
“I am making this statement to clear Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte and Atty. Manse Carpio from any involvement in the shipment of illegal drugs into the country, and any anomalies in the Bureau of Customs,” he said.
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“I also hereby apologize to Vice Mayor Duterte, Atty. Carpio and to the first family for the proliferation of fake news arising out of my testimony at the Senate yesterday,” he said.
He also belied “fake news deviously spread on social media” in connection with his testimony during the Senate blue ribbon committee hearing on Thursday.
“I wish to categorically make it clear that: 1. I had never testified, nor will I ever testify that Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte and/or Atty. Manse Carpio were involved in the shipment of illegal drugs into the country. Neither have I testified, nor will I ever testify that the aforementioned individuals were involved in the ‘Tara System’ that was in place at the Bureau of Customs,” he said.
Taguba maintained that the alleged involvement of Duterte and Carpio are “hearsay in nature.”
“The names of Vice Mayor Duterte and or Atty. Manases Carpio were merely mentioned by the ‘Davao Group’ whose direct contacts to me were ‘Tita Nannie’ and ‘Jack.’ As I had repeatedly stated before Congress and the Senate, the alleged involvement of the aforementioned individuals are hearsay in nature,” he said.
In earlier hearings Taguba said he Davao City Councilor Nilo “Small” Abellera Jr. in Davao last January where the latter asked him to pay P5 million so he could seek protection from Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte, President Rodrigo Duterte’s son.
READ: If Paolo was into it, show me the affidavit – Duterte
Taguba said he first met with “Tita Nannie” from the BOC in a Quezon City mall. He said Tita Nannie instructed her to give an “enrollment fee” worth P5 million to the Davao Group.
In January, Taguba said Tita Nannie sent her a text message saying: “Good am, Mark. We’ll make final arrangement with Jack, he’s the handler of Paolo, now we have to advance the enroll. He can fly down to Davao to arrange your meeting with Pulong ASAP. During the meeting, you personally turn over the P5M, in the same manner you likewise turned over the LMLN to Jack when we met.”
Taguba clarified that he did not personally meet the younger Duterte but he said Abellera and Jack claimed that they are collecting money for Duterte.
Upon the instructions of Tita Nannie, Taguba flew to Davao City. A certain “Jack” brought him to a restaurant to meet Abellera.
“Sinundo ako ni Jack at dinala ako sa restaurant at nandoon si Small at nagusap kami ‘yung sa P5 million. Sabi niya (Small) sa akin bago n’ya tanggapin ‘yon, kailangan maging maayos ang remittance mo weekly,” Taguba said.
(Jack fetched me and brought me to a restaurant where Small was waiting and where walked about the P5 million. Small told me that before I accept it, my weekly remittance should be spotless.)
Taguba said Jack would fly back to Manila from Davao everyFriday to collect money from him.
Asked by Senator Antonio Trillanes IV how much he paid every week, Taguba said he pays P10,000 per container. In a week, Taguba said he delivers “an average of 100 containers,” making it a total of P1 million in a week.
Trillanes then asked Taguba: “As far as you’re concerned, itong Davao Group make things happen? Kumbaga napapadali pagpasok mo ng container van (Do they make the entry of your container van quicker)?” Taguba answered, “Yes, your honor.”
Taguba said since he started paying the enrollment fee and the weekly remittance, his container vans were never “alerted” by the Customs.
During Thursday’s hearing, Taguba read his exchange of messages with Tita Nannie last March where names of Duterte and Carpio were mentioned.
In a text message sent to Tita Nannie, “there’s no need to panic. I haven’t filed it yet all I need from Tito Jack is for either P or Mance to call collector Jet Maronilla that we have go signal for our SPL.”
Taguba said “P” referred to Paolo or “Pulong “ and “Mance” was Carpio. IDL