President Duterte has said he will have his son killed if drug trafficking allegations against him are true — adding that police who carry out the hit would be protected from prosecution.
Earlier this month, Paolo Duterte, aged 42, appeared before a senate inquiry to deny accusations he was a member of a Chinese triad and helped smuggle a huge shipment of shabu from China.
During the hearing, he was asked by opposition Senator Antonio Trillanes to remove his shirt and display a large tattoo on his back that allegedly proved he was a member of a Chinese faction.
Paolo acknowledged he has a tattoo on his back but refused to remove his shirt and show the hearing.
Senator Trillanes also produced a report by an anti-smuggling group that claims they received intelligence that Paolo was also involved in the illegal importation of luxury cars and other items.
Paolo described the allegations as “baseless” and founded upon “rumours”.
President Duterte did not refer to these allegations specifically but denied that his children were involved in drugs — but they would face the ultimate punishment if they were.
“I said before my order was: ‘If I have children who are into drugs, kill them so people will not have anything to say’,” Duterte said in a speech on Wednesday (September 21).
“So I told Pulong (Paolo’s nickname): ‘My order is to kill you if you are caught. And I will protect the police who kill you, if it is true’,” he said.
“That’s better… so I can say to people, ‘There, you keep talking. That’s my son’s corpse’.”
Paolo Duterte denies accusations
The president won last year’s election on a law-and-order platform in which he promised to eradicate illegal drugs by killing up to 100,000 traffickers and addicts.
Since he assumed office, police have reported killing more than 3,800 people in anti-drug operations while thousands of others have been killed in unexplained circumstances.
The president has previously said he would be “happy to slaughter” three million drug addicts, and described children shot dead in the drug war as “collateral damage”.
But he has also repeatedly insisted he has never instructed police to do anything illegal, and that they must only kill in self-defence.
Some opposition lawmakers and other critics allege he and his family have long been involved in corrupt activities dating back to the president’s two-decade reign as mayor of Davao.
The president denies all allegations of corruption.
In this month’s senate hearing, the opposition lawmaker said Paolo Duterte, who is vice mayor of Davao, and the president’s son-in-law were involved in a criminal syndicate called the “Davao Group”.
The pair denied any wrongdoing.