Photo by LeAnne Jazul/Rappler
Is the presidential son part of a triad?
During the September 7 Senate investigation into the P6.4-billion smuggling of 604 kilos of methamphetamine or shabu into the Philippines, Senator Antonio Trillanes IV made a shocking allegation. He said that President Rodrigo Duterte's eldest son Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte is a member of a triad.
A triad is among the branches of Chinese transnational organized crime syndicates that operate in different countries.
Paolo Duterte attended the hearing on corruption at the Bureau of Customs (BOC) after he was linked to smuggling activities. It was Trillanes who first proposed inviting the younger Duterte to the Senate hearing.
Trillanes first asked Paolo Duterte if he had a tattoo on his back, which the President's son affirmed. Asked by Trillanes if it is "colored and a dragon-like figure" however, he refused to answer, saying only: "I invoke my right to privacy."
Trillanes said the information on the tattoo on his back was "given by a foreign country," without specifying which one.
He then said that the tattoo was evidence of Duterte's alleged criminal activities.
"The proof of his membership is the tattoo on his back. That is what will explain all this, and there is a competition among syndicates. That is the physical evidence of his membership in the triad. The tattoo," alleged Trillanes.
The senator then asked Paolo to show the Senate floor his tattoo, which the President's son again refused.
At this point, Senate blue ribbon committee chairman Richard Gordon warned Trillanes to be careful, telling him, "We should not abuse any of the witnesses here.”
Later, Trillanes again mentioned the tattoo, saying "the evidence of membership of a triad is the tattoo because it has sacred digits."
He then asked if Paolo would allow the tattoo on his back to be photographed "to decode", to which Paolo replied, "No way."
Before the tattoo was mentioned, Trillanes also showed photos of Paolo with various Chinese nationals who have been linked to corruption in the BOC, like Charlie Tan and Richard Tan.
Richard is said to have been the shipper of the shabu in question, while Charlie is said to be someone Paolo met in China, according to former Davao cop Arturo "Arthur" Lascañas.
Lascañas said that Charlie had requested Paolo to insert "souvenirs" in the container van that the vice mayor was going to ship to Davao City. He said Paolo then suspected that drugs – shabu in particular – had been inserted in the container van.
Before Trillanes showed the photos during the hearing and mentioned the tattoo, Paolo denied under oath "any and all baseless allegations thrown against me" but later admitted he is drinking buddies with Charlie. – Rappler.com