MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Malacañang shrugged off a video circulating on social media accusing presidential son Paolo Duterte of receiving money from a crime syndicate and using the brother of his brother-in-law as a dummy for the transactions.
"It's obviously a black propaganda intended to besmirch and destroy PRRD (President Rodrigo Roa Duterte) and his family," said Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo on Wednesday, April 3.
Panelo, however, has not yet directly addressed any of the accusations leveled by the creators of the video, persons who have remained anonymous so far.
The video features a person hidden by darkness and wearing a jacket who claims to have worked for a drug syndicate operating in Southern Luzon and the Visayas. Calling himself "Bikoy," the mysterious person says he was involved in recording the syndicate's transactions.
A document called a "tara" is shown – supposedly an internal document that lists down how much money is given to the "principals" or leaders of the drug syndicate.
One page of the document shows 4 batches of P25 million or P20 million were allotted to a principal going by the code names "Polo Delta G01" and "Alpha Tierra-0029." There are supposed bank account numbers where the amounts are to be deposited and signatures at the bottom of the document.
Another document shows these bank account numbers are under the names "Carpio Reyes Waldo" and "Carpio Waldo." Waldo Carpio is the brother of Manases Carpio, husband of Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, who is Paolo's sister.
So close is Waldo to the Dutertes that President Rodrigo Duterte himself stood as principal sponsor at Waldo's wedding. Duterte also appointed Waldo as agriculture assistant secretary and then promoted him to undersecretary.
A supposed 2018 account summary of one of the accounts shows P170 million and P210 million were withdrawn in May and December, respectively. The video then shows another document, this time supposedly from an "international bank," which shows that the same amounts were deposited to an account under the name "Duterte Paolo" on the same dates those amounts were withdrawn from Carpio's alleged account.
Towards the end of the video, "Bikoy" is again shown. He claims Paolo has 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."
So far, no media group has verified the claims of the video.
Without addressing any of these claims, Panelo said the video was pushing forward a "false narrative" aimed at tainting President Duterte's image.
"But just like the other false narratives agains the President, it will not succeed as the overwhelming majority of the Filipino people trust his sincerity and fidelity to his duty as President in serving and protecting the citizenry as well as believe in his incorruptibility," said Panelo.
Such tactics, he added, are "doomed to fail."
"In the almost 3 years of his presidency, they painted him criminal and evil, but survey after survey, the Filipino people gave him an excellent rating on trust and on his unorthodox way of governance," said Panelo.
On Wednesday, Paolo called the claims in the video an "invention" and blamed a certain "J.S." for it.
“POLO DELTA - PAOLO DUTERTE? WOW ha kung makaimbento ka wagas (Wow, you really went all out in inventing this),” he wrote in a Facebook post.
He said J.S. was angry with Waldo Carpio because the latter “had blocked all your sugar and rice smuggling.” Carpio was allegedly instrumental in the seizure of 100 sacks of Thailand rice at the Manila International Container Terminal in June last year.
Paolo said "J.S." was also angry at him because he had ignored him on a flight once “because you are boastful.”
“Ngayon pansinin na kita kasama ng kamay ko na kasing laki ng mukha mo pag nangyari yan. Yan ang totoong balita! Ang Dragon code ko pala ay PD 92112 o yan research ka ulit! PAK YOU MO GINAYA MO PA SI TRILILLING HA! Pag lolo nalang dong sunda imong idol nga si J. P.," said Paolo.
(Now I’ll give you attention with my fist that has the same size with your face. That’s the real news! By the way, my Dragon code is PD92112. There, do another research. Fuck you, you copied (Trillanes). Just pleasure yourself, follow what your idol J.P. did.)
The "Totoong Narco List" video is not the first time Paolo Duterte has been linked to illegal drugs. Back in 2017, a customs broker claimed corrupt customs officials were name-dropping Paolo.
Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.