Duterte: Rice smugglers may have ‘protectors'

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Friday, January 24, 2014

DAVAO City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte said Wednesday that rice smugglers may have "protectors" inside the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Bureau of Customs (BOC).

With the problem on rice smuggling that existed since time immemorial, Duterte said there must be something wrong with the people working within the four corners of the DOJ.

"Hanggang ngayon, yan lang ang nakuha nila? I am aghast. Hanggang ngayon nandiyan pa sila sa establishing identity? Yung budget nila kalaki-laki eh. In the first place, sino nag pu-protect ng mga smugglers na yan diyan sa DOJ? Who are they or who is she?" Duterte said in an interview in Nabunturan, Compostela Valley.


Duterte was reacting to the statements of DOJ Secretary Leila de Lima against him and on his stand against Davidson Bangayan, the suspected "David Tan" allegedly involved in massive rice smuggling in the country.

Duterte earlier lambasted De Lima for insisting that Bangayan is from Davao City, when in fact the person only travels here "once a year."

"You (De Lima) had had your chance. You came here to investigate, ano bang nakuha mo? You just destroyed my name. Until now, they are agonizing with this Bangayan," he said.

He said he also surmised that "protectors of rice smugglers" cannot only be found in DOJ, but also in BOC.

"Hindi pa ako sure and I cannot name names because I am trying to validate. Not only in DOJ, but in Customs. Hindi naman lulusot yan eh (kung walang protector)," he said.

Duterte also asked De Lima to step down from her position in DOJ.

He said De Lima was already "bypassed so many times even until now."

"For delicadeza, umalis na siya diyan. The representatives of the people who are really the senators and the congressmen do not really agree with their appointment, eh kung delicadeza umalis ka na diyan," he said.

Meanwhile, Duterte said on Wednesday that he is willing to submit himself before the Senate and testify on rice smuggling.

"If I will be called, I will testify because that is a Senate summon and you can be in contempt if you don't obey it," Duterte told reporters in an interview after the turnover of the P500,000 worth of check each to four municipalities in Compostela Valley province.

Duterte said his testimonies before the Senate will still be the same with what he had said all these time since Bureau of Internal Revenue Commissioner Kim Henares contacted him.

"Yun ang sasabihin ko doon. I did not ask for this. It was because of the request of Henares, that I will help. Kaya naman talaga ako nag help kasi mahiya ako kay Presidente binigyan niya ako/nila ng building which I have been asking for the longest time. Yung hospital sa cancer patients," he said. (Sun.Star Davao)

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on January 24, 2014.

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