Otso Diretso dares Paolo Duterte: Show your tattoo, clear your name

Mara Cepeda

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Otso Diretso dares Paolo Duterte: Show your tattoo, clear your name

LeAnne Jazul

'Kung talagang walang basehan, 'yon 'yong pinakamadaling gawin,' says Otso Diretso candidate Florin Hilbay on Paolo Duterte showing his tattoo to counter allegations against him

MANILA, Philippines – Opposition senatorial candidates challenged presidential son Paolo Duterte to show his tattoo so he can put to rest links between the mark and his alleged drug links.  

Otso Diretso candidates Florin Hilbay and Gary Alejano made the challenge on the sidelines of their campaign sortie at the Baseco compound in Port area, Manila on Friday night, April 5. 

“Ang aking pagkakatanda, may hamon ‘oong mga gumawa noong alegasyon: Ipakita ‘yong tattoo…. Yon ang pinakasimpleng gawin ni Paolo Duterte. Kung talagang walang basehan, ‘yun ‘yung pinakamadaling gawin. Mapapahiya ‘yung gumawa, mawawalan ng kredibilidad ‘yong lahat ng gumawa,” Hilbay,  a former solicitor general, told Rappler. 

(What I can remember is that those behind the video had a challenge: Show the tattoo. That’s the simplest thing Paolo Duterte can do. If the allegations truly don’t have any basis, then that’s the easiest thing he can do. The people behind the video would be shamed and lose their credibility.)

A video alleging Paolo Duterte’s alleged links to the drug trade has gone viral online. Titled “Totoong Narco List,” the video features “Bikoy,” an anonymous person who claimed to have worked for a drug syndicate operating in Southern Luzon and the Visayas. The man claimed he was involved in recording the syndicate’s transactions, which Paolo Duterte supposedly benefitted from.

“Bikoy” claimed Paolo Duterte had a dragon tattoo on his back and that under the eye of this dragon is the code “Alpha Tierra 0029,” the same code name in the supposed “tara.”  

President Rodrigo Duterte said the “yellows” and opposition Senator Antonio Trillanes IV  – who had made the same claim regarding the tattoo in a Senate hearing in 2017 – were allegedly behind the video, which the senator denied.  Yellow is the color of the once-ruling Liberal Party (LP).

Alejano said on Friday that Paolo Duterte must answer all allegations head on, instead of merely deflecting the issue and allowing his father to pin the blame on the opposition. 

“Ang tanong: Involved ba kayo? Pangalawa, totoo ba ang mga accounts? Pangatlo, totoo ba ang tattoo sa likod ni Pulong? Ang dali lang ipakita,” said the Magdalo congressman.

(The question is: Are you involved? Second, are the [bank] accounts real? Third, is the tattoo on Pulong’s back real? It’s so easy to show it.) 

He was referring to the alleged secret bank accounts of the President and members of his family, the basis of Trillanes’ long-standing challenge for the Chief Executive to sign a bank secrecy waiver.

Need for an independent Senate

Otso Diretso candidate and Marawi civic leader Samira Gutoc likewise urged her fellow Mindanaoan Paolo Duterte to answer the accusations against him.

“Well, as a citizen, it’s disturbing.  Sabi nga ni President, pantay-pantay ang batas…. Fellow Mindanaoan people, walang personalan ‘to. I’m sure you would want to clear your name. So you might want to clear your name,” said Gutoc.

(Well, as a citizen, I find it disturbing…. The President said all must be equal in the eyes of the law…. Fellow Mindanaon people, this is nothing perosnal. I’m sure you would want to clear your name. So you might want to clear your name.)

Reelectionist Senator Bam Aquino denied his party is behind the video. He hoped the Senate would once again probe into Paolo Duterte’s supposed involvement in illegal drugs.  

“Sa totoo lang po, isa itong rason kung bakit kailangan ng malayang Senado, na independent na Senado, na puwedeng tumingin sa mga ganitong klaseng paratang at huhusga kung mayroon ba talagang katotohanan ito o wala. Wala hong kinalaman ang  Liberal Party po diyan. ‘Di ko na siguro kailangang ulitin ‘yon,” said Aquino.

(Honestly, this is one of the reasons why we need an independent Senate, which can look into these kinds of allegations and assess whether or not there is any truth to it. The Liberal Party is not behind this. I don’t think I need to repeat that anymore.)

Vice President Leni Robredo, who is LP chairperson, and also denied the party had anything to do with the video, saying that it did not have any resources to mount what Duterte called as “black propaganda” against his son. – Rappler.com

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Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda specializes in stories about politics and local governance. She covers the Office of the Vice President, the Senate, and the Philippine opposition. She is a 2021 fellow of the Asia Journalism Fellowship and the Reham al-Farra Memorial Journalism Fellowship of the UN. Got tips? Email her at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or tweet @maracepeda.