MANILA (Updated) -- Senator Antonio Trillanes IV on Thursday accused Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte of being a member of triad, saying the presidential son's membership in the syndicate is "printed in his tattoo" on his back.
Trillanes made the revelation the resumption of the Senate investigation into the P6.4 billion worth of shabu shipment from China.
Duterte and his brother-in-law, Manases "Mans" Carpio, appeared at the Senate hearing upon the invitation of the Senate blue ribbon committee.
During the hearing, Trillanes asked the eldest son of President Rodrigo Duterte if he has tattoo on his back.
"Meron ka bang tattoo sa likod mo?" Trillanes asked.
Duterte answered in the affirmative, "Meron po, Mr. Chair."
Trillanes then described Duterte's tattoo as "colored and dragon-like figure."
"Yung tattoo mo sa likod, I can imagine it's a colored and dragon-like figure tattoo. Am I correct?" Trillanes further asked, but Duterte refused to answer as invoked right to privacy.
However, Duterte also refused to heed Trillanes' request to show his tattoo to the members of the committee to refute his claim.
Trillanes said he received information from a foreign country that the presidential son is a member of a triad involved in organized crime.
"Itong intelligence information na ito ay binigay sakin ng isang foreign country na sinasabi ay itong si Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte ay member ng triad. Ang proof ng kanyang membership ay tatoo sa likod," Trillanes said. "Yan ang mageexplain ng lahat ng ito at merong mga competition among syndicates."
Senator Richard Gordon interjected and warned Trillanes against making baseless allegations against any resource person.
"Be very careful as everybody has rights here," Gordon said.
But Trillanes said the refusal of Duterte is an indication that he is hiding something, which will prove that the vice mayor and Charlie Tan were part of the illegal triad linked either in Macau, Hong Kong or China.
"Triad members have a tattoo with a sacred digit at the back which can be read by the United States Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). And if Paolo willingly allow us to see it, we can ask the US DEA to check it," Trillanes said.
In his statement, Duterte said he attended the hearing out of "respect" for the Senate as an institution. He, however, apologized to the Senate and said he cannot answer questions based on hearsay.
"I am very sorry but I cannot answer allegations based on hearsay," he said.
During the hearing, Trillanes challenged both Carpio and Duterte to sign a waiver on several bank accounts which the senator said was owned by them.
Duterte and Carpio answered Trillanes with a sarcastic smile saying they will not allow such move to happen considering that the Senate blue ribbon committee is not a court.
Lawyer Rainier Madrid, counsel of Duterte, described Trillanes as a "propagandist" and a "manipulator".
He challenged Trillanes to show proof that his client is part of a crime group.
"He cannot even show the intelligence report. He is a propagandist. He is trying to be a good copy in the media. We will not dignify him," the lawyer said.
"We will not play his game. No way that we will play the game of this enemy. He is there to destroy us but our purpose in attending this hearing is to ferret out the truth," Madrid said.
Mans Carpio admits BOC visits
At the hearing, Carpio, the husband of Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, admitted that he has been going to the BOC in several instances.
He said that he sees nothing wrong, as a lawyer to represent some clients at the BOC considering that he has been transacting with the BOC since the time of former President Benigno Aquino III.
Carpio also expressed willingness to be scrutinized.
Lawyer Mandy Anderson, chief of staff of former Customs commissioner Nicanor Faeldon, divulged that there were many groups that have been using Davao Group as their key to facilitate their cargoes but there was never a time and not even once that the Davao City vice mayor called them to facilitate or even to intervene.
Anderson mentioned a certain Kimberly Gamboa who even mentioned the name of Carpio and complained why her shipment was put on hold without the alert order insisting that she will call "Atty. Mans" on this matter.
Anderson revealed, however, that she did not receive any call from Carpio to release the cargoes of Kimberly Gamboa.
"But one BOC employees showed me a text message from a certain Mans asking help for the lifting of the alert order on the said 60 containers of Gamboa which we declined," Anderson said, adding: "But no Atty. Mans ever called up to lift it."
The Senate probe on Thursday focused on the unseen hands that have been operating in the BOC using the green lane for the proliferation of illegal cargoes specifically the entry of illegal drugs.
Anderson during the questioning admitted that Carpio visited Faeldon because of a client that he has been representing, a certain Mr. Reta.
"I am working on at the BOC dates back to Aquino term to represent some clients. I am a collaborating counsel and marami kaming abogado
na humahawak sa ibat ibang cases at the BOC," Carpio clarified.
Carpio said he discussed with Faeldon, the crusade of Mr. Retta where the latter proposed the possibility of using Hi-Tech X rays that can help the BOC specifically in Davao, in their fight to monitor illegal contrabands being inserted in legal cargoes passing through the BOC.
Carpio said he never met customs broker Mark Taguba and cannot say anything about his claims regarding the alleged Davao group facilitating cargoes of alleged smugglers.
Duterte said he presented himself because he believes that he is innocent as he described the allegations against him as "baseless and mere hearsay."
"We have been publicly crucified based on gossip," Duterte said. (SunStar Philippines)