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Lawyer questions Trillanes' sexuality over tattoo inquiry

Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte attends the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee's hearing into the P6.4 billion-worth shabu shipment from China. He is with legal counsel, Rainier Madrid. Senate PRIB / Alex Nuevaespaña

MANILA, Philippines — For insisting that Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte should show his back tattoo, Sen. Antonio "Sonny" Trillanes' sexual preference was questioned on Friday.

At the Senate blue ribbon committee hearing into the P6.4 billion drug shipment, Trillanes repeatedly asked the president's son to publicly bare his back tattoo. He claimed the body ink would prove his links to a Chinese "drug triad."

Trillanes alleged a "colored dragon" tattoo marks the triad membership. It also indicates supposed serial numbers pointing to the faction one belongs to.

In response, Duterte's legal counsel, Rainier Madrid, later insinuated that the senator could be gay for insisting that his client reveals his back tattoo.

"Why does he want to see my client's tattoo? Is he gay?" Madrid told reporters in a televised ambush interview. He said he would have allowed Duterte to bare his body art only if Trillanes outs himself as a homosexual.

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In 2017, many still believe that being called a homosexual is an insult and that being LGBT is shameful or wrong. This belief has led to discrimination and harassment even in schools.

Madrid later told reporters that Duterte was willing to reveal his tattoo but as lawyer, he advised him not to entertain an "insult." As legal counsel, he claimed he could be disbarred from his profession for allowing his client to do so.

ALSO READ: Lawyer refuses to let Paolo Duterte bare his tattoo

He dismissed Trillanes' so-called evidence as mere propaganda. "Why do you have to play his game? The job of the lawyer is to let the enemy play our game," Madrid said.

"My game is that to show him as a propagandist. He always resorts to intel reports hearsay, chismis everything," he added.

The lawyer said he could not approach Trillanes head-on because the senator was there to destroy his client. The president's son, meanwhile, appeared before the panel to "ferret out the truth."

Before the hearing, Trillanes said he was bent on pinning down Duterte and his brother-in-law, Manases "Mans" Carpio. He accused the two of not only engaging in smuggling operations but also of dabbing in the illegal drug trade.

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