Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said the allegations that Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte and his son, Paolo, are involved in smuggling should be investigated.
“Ang mga alegasyon tulad niyan ay dapat munang siyasatin kung may sapat na batayan,” Sec. Coloma said.
This after a Filipino consumers group accused the Duterte family of being involved in smuggling.
Perfecto Jaime Tagalog, head of the Coalition of Filipino Consumers (CFC), said smuggling of rice, electronic products, luxury vehicles, canned goods and “ukay-ukay” is rampant in Davao because of the Duterte family.
He said Davao Vice Mayor Paolo “Pulong” Duterte, son of presidential bet Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, is the king of smuggling lords in Davao.
Tagalog said he was a supporter of Duterte’s presidential bid until he learned about the smuggling and anomalies at Davao Port.
“Duterte’s son, Paolo Duterte, also known as Pulong and his wife January are recognized as the smuggling lords in Davao City who get cuts for every container,” he said.
He said reports by the Presidential Anti-Smuggling Group and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) during the time of then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo showed that Pulong’s partner in smuggling is Glen Escandor, son of a certain Col. Escandor who owns the Mandaya Hotel and a big security agency.
The reports said the smuggled luxury cars are displayed and being sold at a showroom at Genesis along Pacific Drive hear SM Davao City.
Tagalog said Pulong and his wife are also involved in the smuggling of “ukay-ukay,” rice and sugar and use a certain Judith and the Rose Caballero Brokerage film to go around restrictions by the National Food Authority (NFA) and the Sugar Regulatory Administration. He said the husband and wife also use a certain Toti Cabanlog as facilitator to Atty. John Tan of the Bureau of Customs.
He said farmers in Davao and surrounding areas including Kidapawan are struggling because of the rampant smuggling of agricultural products in Davao and Mindanao.
“Now I’ve learned the link between the Kidapawan incident and the agricultural product smuggling in Davao,” he said, adding that Mayor Duterte send rice to the farmers to pretend that he supports them.
He warned that Davao has become the smugglers’ haven in the country and warned that if Duterte wins as president, he will appoint Pulong as the Bureau of Customs commissioner.
Tagalog said the people close to Mayor Duterte are linked to smuggling.
Lito Banayo, Mayor Duterte’s chief political strategist, is facing charges filed by the NBI for rice smuggling during his stint as NFA administrator. Tagalog said Banayo left NFA and hid in Davao City under the protection of Mayor Duterte.
Tagalog said rice smuggling suspect Davidson Bangayan, alias David Tan, is close to the Duterte family. Bangayan, he said, is always seen in Davao and Mindanao. The NBI charged Bangayan with rice smuggling.
He said the blatant smuggling activities in Davao only show that Mayor Duterte is bluffing when he tells people in campaign sorties that he will get rid of corruption in government.