Customs people on the take invoked ‘Davao VM’ – Taguba

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Mark Taguba
Customs broker Mark Taguba (left) testifying at the House of Representatives.

MANILA, Philippines — Allegedly corrupt personnel at the Bureau of Customs regularly invoked the vice mayor of Davao City, a broker who claimed to have bribed them told the House of Representatives.

The vice mayor of Davao is Paolo “Pulong” Duterte, son of President Rodrigo Duterte.

Quirino Representaive Dax Cua, chairman of the House ways and means committee, acknowledged that customs broker Mark Taguba admitted having no personal knowledge about the younger Duterte, only to often hearing his name mentioned as part of a so-called “Davao group.”

“He did not say the name, he said VM (vice mayor).  We will look into it,” Cua said in an interview.

Cua’s panel and the committee on dangerous drugs are conducting separate hearings into the alleged smuggling of P6.4 billion worth of crystal meth or “shabu” from China.

Taguba, one of the resource persons, claimed he regularly have gave agency personnel “tara” or bribes of as much as P27,000 per container to speed up the release of shipments.

Cua said depending on Taguba’s further testimony, they might invite the Davao vice mayor to the inquiry.

The vice mayor gave News5 his response to Taguba’s testimony:

At the same time, Cua said there was a need to thoroughly assess Taguba’s statements because of “inconsistencies,” and warned that these could be reason enough to revoke the immunity the House had earlier granted the broker.

At Monday’s hearing, Taguba named several Customs officials he had allegedly bribed.

However, later in the day, he said he was uncertain if the money went to the officials or to their offices.