Trillanes: Paolo Duterte a Chinese drug triad member

 

Story updated to include additional statements from Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 7) — Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV accused the eldest son of President Rodrigo Duterte of being a member of an organized crime syndicate.

Trillanes, a fierce critic of the Duterte family, said in the Senate hearing Wednesday that according to intelligence given to him by a foreign country, Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte has the tattoo of a Chinese drug triad group.

 

"Ang proof ng kanyang membership ay yung tattoo sa likod," Trillanes said. "Yung tattoo mismo kasi meron siyang sacred digits."

[Translation: The proof of his membership is the tattoo on his back. The tattoo itself has sacred digits.]

"'Yan ang mage-explain ng lahat ng ito at mayroong competition among syndicates dahil that's the physical evidence of his membership sa triad," he added. "This intelligence information was handed down to me from a foreign country and na-validate naman, in-admit naman ni Mr. Paolo Duterte."

[Translation: That will explain all that is going on. There is competition among syndicates because that's the physical evidence of his membership in the triad. This intelligence information was handed down to me from a foreign country and it was validated, with Mr. Paolo Duterte admitting it.]

Although Duterte confirmed he had a tattoo on his back, he refused to show it.

"Yung tattoo mo sa likod [That tattoo on your back], I imagine, it's a colored and dragon-like figure tattoo, am I correct?" Trillanes asked Duterte.

"I invoke my right to privacy," replied the vice mayor.

 

Duterte appeared at the Senate hearing after Customs fixer Mark Taguba said on Aug. 22 that the vice mayor was connected to the so-called "Davao Group."

Read: Customs fixer: I was asked ₱5M to meet Paolo Duterte

Taguba said the group allegedly accepted millions of pesos in bribes to help move his shipments through Customs without scrutiny.

Read: 'Davao Group': A cast of aliases

Meanwhile, Duterte said in a statement that his appearance at the Senate is chance to "deny any and all baseless accusations thrown against me."

 

"I am very sorry, but I cannot answer allegations based on hearsay," Duterte added.

In addition, when Trillanes repeatedly pressed him about his bank accounts, Duterte invoked his right against self-incrimination.

No waiver

In addition, when Trillanes repeatedly pressed him about his bank accounts amounting to ₱104 million, Duterte invoked his right against self-incrimination and refused to sign a waiver to open his accounts.

"Ang pinapakita ko roon, 'yung source ng kanilang ill-gotten ay maaaring nanggagaling both sa smuggling operations tsaka sa illegal drugs," Trillanes told reporters after the hearing.

[Translation: What I was showing there was that the source of their ill-gotten wealth may have come from smuggling operations and illegal drugs]

Meanwhile, Duterte's lawyer Ching Madrid told reporters after the hearing that Trillanes was a "propangandist," adding that he advised his client to not sign any bank waivers.

"That issue is an old issue," he said. "They raised it during the election and, still, the President won. Why will we dignify something which is questionable, the sources of which cannot be revealed?"

Trillanes' accusations resurrect claims he first made during the presidential campaign in 2016, that President Duterte and his daughter Sara had unexplained wealth.

Read: Banking on the truth: How Duterte, Trillanes made it to this week's headlines

Trillanes also accused the President of allegedly having ₱211 million deposited in BPI Julia Vargas, which was undeclared in his 2014 Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth or SALN.

Related: BPI on Duterte-Trillanes row: We had nothing to do with it

During the campaign, President Duterte revealed his bank records, which showed two BPI accounts with ₱17,000 and around ₱24,000 deposits.

Read: Duterte presents peso, dollar accounts

The Anti-Money Laundering Council and Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas decided not to further investigate the matter.

Read: Duterte lashes out at Bangko Sentral, AMLC over bank account controversy