Philippines controversial anti-drug president's son named in $125mn narcotics scandal
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte's eldest son Paolo has denied involvement in a $125 million drug smuggling operation. Paolo, the mayor of Davao city, told a Senate inquiry the allegations were "baseless." Last year, President Duterte launched a violent crackdown on drug crime that's left thousands dead. He previously vowed to kill his own children if they were found having links to the drug trade.
What are the allegations against Duterte's son?
Paolo and President Duterte's son-in-law Manases Carpio, are both accused of facilitating a shipment of crystal meth from China worth $125 million. The allegations are based on a customs broker's testimony, who claimed he heard their names mentioned with the consignment. The broker has since stated that they weren't involved. An opposition senator claimed Paolo has a tattoo proving he's a drug gang member.
Paolo calls allegations "rumors and gossip"
Paolo declined to describe his tattoo and said he wouldn't "answer allegations based on hearsay." He also called the allegations "rumors and gossip." Carpio said he had "no knowledge of, or involvement, in the illegal drugs shipment." President Duterte's spokesman said the pair's attendance at the senate inquiry showed they are "ready to face malicious allegations intended to impugn their character."
Duterte anti-drug crackdown dogged by alleged human rights violations
Paolo and Carpio's naming in the narcotics scandal comes as President Duterte faces greater criticism domestically over his controversial anti-drug crackdown. Since he took office a year ago, police say 3,800 suspects have been killed in anti-drug operations. The Human Rights Watch claims roughly 7,000 people have been executed. Rights groups have expressed concerns over unexplained and extrajudicial killings.