MANILA, Philippines — “No way.”
That was the response of Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte to the invitation of Senator Antonio Trillanes IV to examine his tattoo to prove connection to an illegal drug triad.
In a senate hearing on Thursday, probing the alleged involvement of the president’s son to the P6.4 billion shabu smuggling scandal at the Bureau of Customs, Trillanes asked Duterte to have his dragon tattoo on his back examined by the United State’s Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to identify if it is the same tattoo etched on members of an international ‘drug triad’.
“Inamin n’ya (Duterte) na meron s’yang tattoo. Ngayon tinatanong ako ng ebidensya. Ang ebidensya po ng membership ng triad ay ‘yung tattoo mismo kasi meron s’yang sacred digits. Ngayon kung willing itong si Vice Mayor Duterte, pi-picture-an natin tapos ipapadala natin sa US DEA para i-decode. Kung willing ka lang naman. [He admitted that he has a tattoo. Now I’m asked for evidence. The evidence of membership to the triad is the tattoo because it has sacred digits. Now if Vice Mayor Duterte is willing, we will take a picture of it (tattoo) and send to the US DEA for decoding] Are you willing, Vice Mayor Duterte?” Trillanes said.
Trillanes’s allegation was met with laughs and smirks from Duterte and his camp. He refused multiple times to accept Trillanes’s invitation.
According to Trillanes, Duterte and a certain Charlie Tan, a friend of Duterte, are triad members. The triad, Trillanes said, is based in China, Hong Kong, and Macau and is engaged in criminal activities like drug smuggling.
He added that billions worth of shabu was smuggled into the country due to Duterte’s membership in the triad.
In a media interview after the proceedings, Ranier Madrid, Duterte’s counsel, said that he advised his client to not show his tattoo in the senate hearing.
“Why do we have to play his (Trillanes) game? Uto-uto ba kami [Are we gullible]? Will I let my client play his game? No way,” Madrid said.
“The job of the lawyer is to make the enemy play our game. Now, my game is to show him as a propagandist. He always resource to intel reports, hearsay, tsismis, everything,” he added.
Madrid also called on Trillanes to surface the documents and witnesses that the latter claimed would prove Duterte’s involvement in illegal drug smuggling.