Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte's son, Paolo Duterte, who has been accused of having links to a seized shipment of $125 million worth of narcotics from China in May, denied any such wrongdoing Thursday during a Senate inquiry. Opposition senator, Antonio Trillanes, who is a critic of the president, accused Paolo of belonging to a drug trafficking gang and said he had a tattoo on his back that proved so, reports said.

Trillanes made the accusation on the basis that Paolo's tattoo resembled a dragon having secret codes, which was "proof...of his membership" of the gang. The senator also said he had intelligence information from an undisclosed foreign source that Paolo, the vice mayor of the southern city of Davao, was a member of an organized crime group, the Chinese "Triad," Reuters reported.

Along with Paolo, Rodrigo's son-in-law, Manases Carpio, also appeared at the Thursday Senate inquiry. Both have been accused of facilitating the shipment of drugs into the Philippines from China in exchange for payment.

They were dragged into the allegations last month when a customs broker told the Senate panel that he heard Paolo and Carpio's names being mentioned while seeking to expedite the shipment. However, the broker later issued a statement saying the duo did not have any role in the smuggling, reports said.

Meanwhile, on Wednesday when Trillanes urged Paolo to show his tattoo so that a photograph can be taken and sent to the U.S Drug Enforcement Agency to decode secret digits, Paolo refused to do so. He said it invoked his right to privacy, according to Reuters.

After Trillanes's accusations, Sen. Richard Gordon, chairman of the Blue Ribbon committee, warned the former of making such baseless allegations such as being a member of the "Triad" is a serious charge. Later, when Trillianes was again given a chance to raise questions against Paolo, he questioned about the tattoo issue that saw heated exchanges between him and Paolo.

However, Trillanes kept sticking to his point by saying that the "dragon-like tattoo" is an important factor in this case as it is the "Triad evidence of membership." He compared Paolo's tattoo to a symbol associated with a Hong-Kong-based gang known for illegal drugs trafficking, Interaksyon by News5, a Philippines news website, reported. 

After the hearing, while talking to reporters, Paolo's lawyer Rainier Madrid questioned Trillanes' motive of wanting to see Paolo's tattoo. "Why does he want to see my client's tattoo? Is he gay? If he's gay, I may have allowed him to see it," ABS-CBN, a Filipino media group reported quoting Madrid.

Madrid added that he has not confirmed from Paolo whether the tattoo on his back was a "colored dragon" or not, as Trillanes had alleged.

"A tattoo is a very private matter. I won't ask my client to show it to me unless I'm gay and I want to see his body," Madrid said. "A tattoo is a fad, even celebrities from Hollywood have it... He was good enough to admit he has a tattoo because he was a young lad."

"But to say that he is a member of a triad is too much," he added.