MANILA, Philippines — Twitter users were neatly split in half as they voted in an InterAksyon poll on whether Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte should show a tattoo on his back that Senator Antonio Trillanes IV claimed would prove his membership in the Chinese Triad.
276 Twitter users responded to the survey question: “Sen Trillanes says VM Paolo Duterte has a tattoo linking him to a drug triad & challenged him to show his tattoo. Should Duterte oblige him?”
50 percent said “Yes” and the other 50 percent said “No way!” Duterte’s response to Trillanes’ dare to bare his back.
Sen Trillanes says VM Paolo Duterte has a tattoo linking him to a drug triad & challenged him to show his tattoo. Should Duterte oblige him?
— InterAksyon (@interaksyon) September 7, 2017
Some Facebook users said Duterte’s refusal to show the tattoo proved he had something to hide. Others said he should have bared his back to prove Trillanes wrong once and for all.
But there were those who found Trillanes’ dare vulgar. Duterte’s lawyer, Rainier Madrid, took this route to question the senator’s motives, asking: “He (Trillanes) only wanted to see the body (of Duterte) … Is he gay?”
He quickly followed this by invoking his profession.
“It’s against my professional duty to let my client be exposed … under such silly circumstances,” he said.
On Thursday, during the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee hearing into the smuggling of P6.4 billion worth of crystal meth, or “shabu,” from China, Duterte admitted he had a tattoo on his back but invoked his right to privacy when Trillanes asked him to show it.
Duterte’s name surfaced in the probe when it was mentioned by Customs fixer Mark Ruben Taguba II in relation to the “Davao Group,” which allegedly facilitates the release of cargo at the Bureau of Customs in exchange for grease money.
But Taguba had stressed he did not personally know if Duterte was, indeed, involved in the Davao Group’s operations since it had only been mentioned by a certain “Tita Nani.”
In response, Duterte said in his opening statement at Thursday’s hearing: “I cannot answer allegations based on hearsay.”