Lacson says he 'feels' for Duterte over 'false' claims vs son

MANILA, Philippines – Administration Senator Panfilo Lacson commiserated with President Rodrigo Duterte over the alleged “false” accusation against his son, Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte.

During the 7th Senate blue ribbon hearing on drug smuggling and Bureau of Customs (BOC) corruption on Thursday, September 7, Lacson said he could emphatize with the Chief Executive since he also believed that his own son, Panfilo "Pampi" Lacson Jr, was the subject of false allegations.

Paolo Duterte and Pampi have been accused of involvement in smuggling. Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, who attended that day's hearing, had made the allegation against the presidential son.  (READ: Duterte to son Paolo: Attend Senate smuggling probe but stay 'silent')

Sensing that Trillanes was there as he spoke, Lacson also apologized to his colleague.

“That’s why I also feel what President Duterte feels. I’m not prejudging anybody here, with my apologies to Senator Trillanes. Ganoon din kasakit. Nandito si Paolo, inimbita namin dahil may accusation, and it’s up to him to defend himself. As a father, at alam kong mali sinasabi ni Faeldon, that’s why I confronted the issue head-on,” Lacson said.

(It's that painful. Paolo is here, we invited him because of accusations against him, and it's up to him to defend himself. As a father, and I know Faeldon's accusations are wrong, that's why I confronted the issue head-on.)

Based on photos on his social media account, Pampi appears to be friends with Paolo Duterte and the vice mayor's close friend, Davao City Councilor Nilo "Small" Abellera Jr, who is also being linked to smuggling. The senator had downplayed these photos.

Lacson made the statement as he defended the tara list  or list of corrupt officials and bribe-givers he had presented in his privilege speech in August, where he accused former BOC chief Nicanor Faeldon and other officials of receiving bribe money.

Faeldon had repeatedly denied the allegation and accused Lacson’s son of cement smuggling. Lacson and his son denied this.

“We vetted correctly and very objectively all the information we received," Lacson said on Thursday, referring to the tara list. "What did Faeldon do? Instead of confronting the issue, he accused my son of being a cement smuggler,” he added.

The senator once again defended his son from Faeldon’s claims, saying it was impossible for the shipments to be undervalued because there is no tariff for cement. He said dismissed the accusations as “false and malicious.”

Lacson said that instead of addressing the allegations, Faeldon sought to “divert” the issue by resorting to publicity tactics.

“He diverted the issue. Nagbula bibig. Nag-hire ng PR firms. Nagpakita ng bahay na sira-sira at nag-accuse (He's foaming at the mouth. He hired PR firms. He displayed a dilapidated house and the n accused us),” Lacson said.

Faeldon was a no-show at the Senate probe despite a subpoena and was  cited him in contempt. The Senate panel will order his arrest if he failed to appear in the next hearing on Monday, September 11.

Paolo Duterte on Thursday faced the Senate panel with his brother-in-law, Manases “Mans” Carpio. Both denied involvement in smuggling and any knowledge of the so-called Davao Group, which has supposed strong ties in the BOC.

During the hearing, Trillanes also accused the presidential son of being a member of a triad, or a branch of the Chinese transnational crime syndicate, and even challenged the vice mayor to bare his back tattoo. The dragon-like tattoo, which has “sacred digits,” was the alleged proof of membership, according to Trillanes.

Paolo Duterte refused to show his tattoo. His lawyer said the vice mayor would not dignify the senator’s “wild accusations.”

Malacañang, for its part, said Trillanes should prove his "serious" allegations. –

Camille Elemia

Camille Elemia is a multimedia reporter focusing on media, technology, and disinformation.