Lacson downplays son's photo with Paolo Duterte amid smuggling issue

MANILA, Philippines – Amid smuggling allegations, Senator Panfilo Lacson downplayed photos of his son with Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte, son of President Rodrigo Duterte.

Former Customs Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon on Thursday, August 24, accused Lacson's son of smuggling, following the senator's privilege speech accusing Faeldon of receiving bribe money.

On Panfilo "Pampi" Lacson Jr's social media accounts, he posted photos of himself with Paolo Duterte and Paolo's friend, Davao City Councilor Nilo "Small" Abellera Jr, also accused of smuggling.

BIRTHDAY. Pampi Lacson with Abellera (middle) at the latter's birthday. Photo from Pampi's Instagram

BIRTHDAY. Pampi Lacson with Abellera (middle) at the latter's birthday.

Photo from Pampi's Instagram

Asked if his son knows Abellera, Lacson said he is not aware. He, however, said his son goes to Davao City and has photos with the vice mayor and Sebastian, the President's youngest son.

But these photos, Lacson said, don't mean anything.

"'Di ko alam pero napupunta siya ng Davao. Alam ko may pic siya with Baste or Paolo but that's all there is to it," the senator said. (I'm not sure but he has gone to Davao before. I know he has photos with Baste or Paolo but that's all there is to it.)

"Sabi ko, 'Huwag ka masyadong magdidikit sa mga ganyan kasi mako-controversial ka.' Siguro nag-selfie, namasyal doon. I'm not even sure kung matatandaan siya nina Paolo o kaya ni Baste," he added.

(I told him, "Don't be seen with people like that too much because you might get into controversies." But maybe he took a selfie with them when he went there. I'm not even sure if Paolo or Baste would remember him.)

In a press conference, Faeldon also accused Lacson's son of going to his office and offering bribe money. But the senator denied this, calling it a "big, big lie."

While Lacson said his son is involved in cement importation, he said this business is not covered by customs tariffs and dues. (READ: Lacson on smuggling charge: When I make an exposé, I make sure I'm clean)

"I asked my son on the assertion of Faeldon that he was delivering money to the commissioner's office. He said, he has not done so at any time, he has not met Faledon. He has absolutely no reason to bribe Faeldon or the customs bureau. That's a big, big lie, he said," Lacson said in a text message.

The senator also denied Faeldon's claim that he is using his son as his dummy and claimed the most he did for his son's cement importing business is to photocopy a document. – Rappler.com

Camille Elemia

Camille Elemia is Rappler's lead reporter for media, disinformation, and democracy. She won an ILO award in 2017. She received the prestigious Fulbright-Hubert Humphrey fellowship in 2019, allowing her to further study media and politics in the US. Email camille.elemia@rappler.com

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