Rodrigo Duterte's son linked to drug smuggling

President Duterte has faced protests for his violent war on drugs.
President Duterte has faced protests for his violent war on drugs. Photo credit: Getty

The son of Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte - who rose to power on a promise of executing drug pushers - has himself been accused of links to drug importation.

Paolo Duterte told a senate inquiry that he has no links to a seized shipment of narcotics from China describing allegations as "baseless".

Paolo Duterte is the vice mayor of the southern city of Davao where his father was mayor before being elected to president in 2016.

The younger Duterte is accused of drug importation alongside his brother-in-law Manases Carpio.

On Tuesday, Rodrigo Duterte said he advised his son to attend the Senate investigation if he had nothing to hide. He did also however advise his son to invoke his right to keep silent and not answer questions.

This is not the first allegation of Paolo Duterte being involved in drug crime.  Al Jazeera has reported that there is Government documentation from as far back as 2007 linking Paolo Duterte to drug crime in Davao.

Critics of Rodrigo Duterte allege that his son was part of a criminal syndicate, citing proof of a "dragon-like" tattoo with secret digits on his back. Paolo Duterte confirmed that the tattoo exists but refused to describe it or decode the secret digits.

Critics of the president have been quick to point out the pair's privilege, saying that while Paolo Duterte and Mr Carpio are having their day in court others from impoverished communities are denied that right and killed by police officers.