Paolo Duterte, Manases Carpio sue Trillanes

Vice mayor Paolo Duterte

DAVAO CITY — Barely two days after vice mayor Paolo Duterte tendered his resignation, the presidential son filed a civil suit against Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV before the regional trial court (RTC) here.

The case stemmed from Trillanes’ allegations that Duterte and his brother-in-law, lawyer Manases Carpio, were involved in the smuggling of P6.4 billion worth of shabu at the Bureau of Customs (BOC) last year. Carpio is the husband of presidential daughter and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte.

Paolo filed a separate charge against Larry Hermoso for allegedly accusing him on social media of being a drug smuggler.

Both cases were raffled to RTC Branch 15 of Judge Mario Duaves.

Although President Duterte, Paolo’s father, still has to act on the letter of resignation, it reached Malacañang Tuesday. The President has 15 working days to act on it. If he fails to do so, the resignation is deemed approved.
While waiting, Paolo is considered “on leave.”

The RTC workers here refused to give the media copies of the complaints, citing a court policy that allows only the parties to access the documents.

But it reportedly has something to do with Trillanes’ accusation that Paolo and Carpio are both members of the “Davao group” that reportedly influences the release of cargo and even contraband from the BOC.

Their names were also mentioned during a Senate inquiry on the P6.4-billion shabu shipment from China last year, which slipped through the BOC but was later seized in Valenzuela City.

Although both Paolo and Carpio attended the Senate Blue Ribbon committee hearing last Sept. 7, they invoked their right to remain silent. In an earlier statement, Carpio admitted having visited BOC because, as a lawyer, he represented many clients who have transactions with the bureau.

Carpio said Trillanes was imputing malice in saying that his appearance before the BOC was because of smuggling.
“He is just a desperate rumor-monger who happens to be a senator,” Carpio said.

Aside from the two, “fixer” and whistle-blower Mark Taguba tagged city councilor Nilo Abellera Jr. as a member of the Davao group that allegedly facilitates the release of illegal shipments.

Carpio’s wife, Mayor Sara, belittled Trillanes’ claim that her brother Paolo resigned in an effort to evade being investigated by the ombudsman.

“Kana si Trillanes mema lang na. Para lang me masabi (Trillanes is a ‘mema.’ He just wants to say something),” Sara said Monday.

She said the investigation of the Office of the Ombudsman would continue even if the official concerned has resigned.