‘No way’

Pulong denies allegation but refused to show tattoo

AN EXCHANGE of word between Sen. Antonio Trillanes and Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte sparked in the Senate yesterday as the senator claimed the presidential son is a triad member.

 Duterte and brother-in-law lawyer Manases Carpio, husband of Mayor Sara Duterte, attended the Senate hearing yesterday to deny allegations that they are involved in the corruption at the Bureau of Customs (BOC).

 During the hearing, Sen. Trillanes claimed Duterte is a member of a triad. He said a tattoo on Duterte’s back will prove his membership with the Chinese Triad.

 Duterte confirmed that he has a tattoo.

 Trillanes then asked Duterte: “Will you show us that tattoo?”

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

 Trillanes claimed his knowledge of Duterte’s tattoo was based on “intelligence from a foreign country” that he did not specify.

 Senator Richard Gordon, chair of the Blue Ribbon committee, cautioned Trillianes against making “allegations without any basis. Triad is a serious allegation.”

But Trillanes, after the turn of several senators to raise questions anew, opened anew the tattoo issue.

 Trillanes said that the “dragon-like tattoo” is an “evidence of membership” with the Triad,” the Hong Kong-based gang linked to illegal drugs trafficking, among other serious crimes.

 The senator said the tattoo is a proof of his membership in the triad and it has a “sacred digit” that can only be decoded by experts.

 “If Vice Mayor Duterte is willing, we’ll take a photo of his tattoo and have it sent to the US-DEA (US Drug Enforcement Agency),” Trillanes said.

 “No way,” Duterte replied.

 When Trillanes asked again, Duterte replied, “Mr. Chair, no way.”

 For the third time, Trillanes made the request but again Duterte replied, “no, sir.”

 “Again, Vice Mayor, if wala kang tinatago, bakit ayaw mong pakunan–e di wala namang made-decode?” Trillanes said.

 An obviously annoyed Duterte answered: back, “Mr. Chair, ilang beses ko bang sasagutin na ayaw ko?”

 The vice mayor and Carpio were invited in the hearing to explain their alleged involvement in the Davao Group that has been dragged by self-confessed customs fixer Mark Ruben Taguba into the P6.4 billion shabu smuggling.

 Taguba later retracted his statement and apologized to the two.

 Duterte spokesperson lawyer Ching Madrid, in a statement, said the presidential son is a “stranger to the allegations of Customs broker Mark Taguba II and the web of lies of Senator Antonio Trillanes that are designed to manipulate public perception.”

 “What he is after is just to forge and weave the Taguba facts into lies against Vice Mayor Pulong to manipulate people’s perception. That is Trillianes’ propaganda. He failed to hit President Rodrigo Duterte before. Now, he is hitting him through his son via black propaganda,” Madrid added.

 Duterte’s legal counsel also said that “Duterte has no written affidavit as he has no facts to reveal.”

 At least 12 city councilors attended the Senate hearing yesterday to show their support to Duterte.

 Present at the Senate were councilors Al Ryan Alejandre, April Dayap, Victorio Advincula, Mary Joselle Villafuerte, Jimmy Dureza, Diosdado Angelo Mahipus, Rene Lopez, Dante Apostol, Maria Belen Acosta, Melchor Quitain Jr., Conrado Baluran and Lea Librado.