Veteran SunStar Columnist Says VM Paolo Duterte’s Involvement in Customs Issue a Diversionary Tactic

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Veteran columnist of one of the country’s most prominent news media outlets in the Visayas and Mindanao area, Serafin Ledesma Jr. of SunStar revealed that the implication of Vice Mayor Paolo “Pulong” Duterte’s name in the controversial P6.5 billion shabu shipment is just a diversionary tactics of the opposition.

Ledesma was not convinced by the statement of controversial BOC witness Mark Taguba, who mentioned Vice Mayor Pulong as one of those allegedly behind the controversial shipment.

Mark Taguba had claimed earlier as a customs broker, but later, he was found out to be fake when the CCBI released an official statement revealing his real identity.

The Davao-based columnist also said that the timing of Vice Mayor Duterte’s name being dragged in the controversial BOC issue is considered a perfect diversion on the issue involving the alleged ill-gotten wealth of Comelec Chief Andres Bautista, which was exposed by his wife, Tisha, of having billions of wealth and most of them were not recorded on his latest SALN.

Here’s the Complete Statement of Mr. Ledesma Jr.:

by Serafin Ledesma Jr

I find it suspicious that so suddenly the name of Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo “Polong” Duterte suddenly surfaced amidst the issues of corruption in the Bureau of Customs and the scandal involving hundreds of millions of bank deposits of erstwhile PCGG Chairman and now incumbent Commission on Election Chairman Andres “Andy” Bautista and his wife Patricia “Tisha”. This, to me, looks like a cover-up job of the usual demolition crew of the political opposition.

A customs broker who confessed to be the corruptor of high and low profile BOC officials simply said that the name of Polong was dropped by his “facilitators” in Davao Port and the next morning the consummate anti-Duterte media quarters fashioned out stories rekindling and invoking again the prevaricated stories of the now missing self-confessed guns-for-hire Matobato and Lascanas who trumped-up and fallacious stories to link the vice mayor on the killing of Richard King.

In the first place it was absurd to say that Polong and King were at odds over a woman who owns an establishment where King was gunned down. Both allegations are not only rib-tickling but also blatant lies. That Matobato and Lacanas are members of the Davao Death Squad is another figment in their imagination because DDS in truth was a phantom force or ghost squads out to scare the NPAs liquidation force at the height of communist insurgency in Davao. Duterte had no clout whatsoever even as in that time he was newly appointed assistant city.

But what I considered a sublime boneheadedness of Manila-based journalists and the so-called investigative reporters is persisting to believe so-called confessions of the witnesses of Sen. Leila de Lima and Sen. Antonio Trillanes that they killed and buried thousands of EJK victims in and abandoned quarry somewhere in the City. With such serious allegation and claims did it not ever occur to them that not a single remains have been exhumed up to now? For all these years, De Lima for one was once the Chair of the Commission on Human Rights, the Secretary of Justice and the Senator. Failing to prove anything to indict then Mayor Duterte she continued with her uncanny passion to pin the now President Duterte even as she was in the totem pole of power and influence. She had not stopped even as the Court had locked her in prison for her involvement in big time drug syndicate that operated inside the country’s top penitentiary which was under her watch.

That fairy tale about Vice Mayor Polong Duterte is half-forgotten as it was farcical but now that the potential bombshell involving yet another Aquino appointee -Andy Bautista- is about to explode all over the face of the political opposition suddenly the propaganda machinery evoked the biggest fallacy of the past to cover the stink of the present.

It appears that the opposition has become too desperate the churning of their propaganda machinery is spinning full speed conjuring stories to save their man Bautista by muddling the issue of undeclared wealth and corruption. Why? It is not only the integrity of Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista that is at stake here but also the integrity of the elections that must have benefited from what was dubbed as hocus-PCOs. Add to that what may have happened at the PCGG during his watch.

And why should Mrs. Patricia Cruz Bautista be crucified for revealing what she swears is the truth? If we go by her statements it is her firm belief that truth will set her and her children free and out of the fallout once the undisclosed wealth will be unearthed sooner or later.

A writer, obviously in defense of her friend Andy, even posed a quizzical brief why the mother of Patricia was defending the husband instead in obvious attempt paint him white and she black. This, and to infer and question the fidelity of the wife. Cannot somebody also ask who was Vasquez to Patricia’s mother why she loathed attending the wedding of her mom to him? Before condemning Patricia and hypocritically ask why her mother sided with Andy which they said is not traditional in Filipino culture, they should have asked Trisha first why this is so.

This dish of gossips is what the salvaging crew of the opposition is baiting and wants us to swallow. This looks like a feast but this is purely entertainment and will not veer us away from the main dish: Unexplained wealth and corruption.

The right flank of save-the-opposition spin masters conjured the incredulous line that the Duterte administration stirred all these to cover up for failing economy, failure in its drug campaign, failed peace negotiation with the CPP/NPA and the continuing Marawi siege.
This predicate is idiotic. It is in fact a symptom of something horrendos. It’s like gasping for breath. The next time around they will drag Marcos on the imbroglio. Another convenient attempt to extricate Comelec Chairman from the quagmire that he is in. What if Marcos will also sing? The Marcoses have been through hell with the PCGG where Andy was once Chairman and now the Comelec.

The shadow of the corrupt Aquino government has now caught up with its top centurions. Let the law takes its course and spare no one so we can avert a bloody revolution. But spare Patricia and her children. They are in pain but after this fallout they will be relieved from it all. By then we should know who is the hero and the heel and maybe know whose fidelity can stand moral scrutiny.

Source: Serafin Ledesma Jr via Eric Clark Su

Ed Umbao

Founder of | co-Founder of

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