MANILA - Senator Antonio Trillanes IV on Thursday showed before a legislative inquiry photos supposedly proving Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte's links with 2 businessmen tagged in the narcotics trade.
Trillanes first presented 2 photos of Duterte with Kenneth Dong, an alleged "middleman" who facilitated a shipment containing P6.4 billion worth of shabu that slipped past the Manila port in May.
Dong confirmed that it was him and Duterte in the photos.
Trillanes then showed another photo of Dong with the Vice Mayor's brother, Sebastian.
The photos, Trillanes said, prove that Dong was a "family friend" of the Duterte family.
He showed the photos as alleged evidence that President Rodrigo Duterte's eldest son was involved in corrupt practices at the Bureau of Customs (BOC).
Dong, however, explained hat he has photos with other public officials like Senators Emmanuel Pacquiao, Bam Aquino, and Risa Hontiveros.
"Ginagamit ko po iyun hindi para ipakita sa ibang tao na may koneksyon... Katulad sa ibang Filipino,'pag nakakakita ng public figures, artista, mahilig silang lumapit sa inyo. I think it's very normal para sa ibang tao," Dong said under Pacquiao's questioning.
Customs fixer Mark Taguba, who brokered the entry of the 600-kg drug haul, had earlier testified that his contacts, a certain "Tita Nani" and "Jack," had namedropped the Vice Mayor and his brother-in-law Mans Carpio, Mayor Sara Duterte's husband, during discussions on an alleged "Davao Group."
Members of the group allegedly accept bribes to release contraband from ports.
Taguba later apologized to Duterte and Carpio. At Thursday's hearing, he reiterated that he did not intend to tag the two in corruption.
Trillanes meanwhile said Tita Nani once sent a text message to Taguba mentioning a certain Charlie Tan, who was previously linked to Duterte and accused of bringing in drugs.
Arturo Lascañas, a self-confessed hitman, told a Senate inquiry last March that Duterte once intervened in an operation to arrest Tan, who allegedly hid drugs in a container van.
At Thursday's hearing, Duterte and Carpio denied any connection with the alleged Davao Group.
The Vice Mayor had previously said Tan was his friend but that the accusations against him and his brother-in-law were part of a ploy to bring down his father.