No, we’re not talking here about Globe’s bestselling broadband plan. Nor even about the signature song of American Idol champion Jordin Sparks.

The tattoo that everyone was gossiping about over the weekend is the one that purportedly resides on the back of Presidential son Paolo Duterte, the vice mayor of Davao City.

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According to the Right Honorable Senator of the Republic Antonio Trillanes IV, erstwhile unwanted guest of the Oakwood and Peninsula hotels, the young Duterte’s tattoo is a fantastical and mystical work of body art that, upon expert decipherment by no less than the likes of Interpol and the FBI, will incontrovertibly prove that the vice mayor is a full-fledged member of the Chinese triad gangs.

Of course, the Right Honorable Senator felt unburdened by any obligation to present evidence for his claim. That is not the way things work in Trillanes’ world, where people are presumed guilty and must be the ones to prove their innocence.

The senator challenged the vice mayor to pull up his shirt and expose his naked back to the august chambers of the Senate and to the rest of the world through mass media. This, on the basis of unsupported insinuation, and without the benefit of legal protections to be found only in a proper court of law.

The challenge was so ridiculous, so utterly disrespectful of parliamentary etiquette and the law, that the vice-mayor couldn’t help laughing out loud. To which the senator—who’s made an entire career out of a permanent scowl that tries to pass for gravitas but only serves to hide an impenitent impudence—predictably snarled back, “Why are you laughing?”

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The entire incident has rightly come in for widespread ridicule in social media. Skewering Trillanes has become a favorite pastime for the online crowd, and thankfully so.

My favorite lady mayor in the world, Inday Sara Duterte-Carpio, circulated a post that asks the authorities what they might make of tattoos of various animals, like a fox and so on. One might infer from this that the tattoo on her brother’s back isn’t likely to be the feared Chinese triad dragon. If anyone knows about it, she would.

Some posts have flat-out denied that there’s any such dragon tattoo, while others have intimated that what’s on the vice mayor’s back is actually an image of Lao-tzu, the Chinese mystical philosopher.

The nastiest posts have ascribed a more prurient interest in seeing that tattoo to Trillanes, whose sexuality has been derided as ambiguous. Since we’re being asked to live in his world on this issue, the burden is really on him now to prove to us that he’s as straight as the next guy, or the next PMA mistah.

Going far beyond the tattoo issue, a retired general even asks us to consider that it’s Trillanes himself who’s likelier to be an agent of the Chinese intelligence agencies and/or the triads, both of whom sometimes work together.

After all, the general says, the senator made 16 official trips to China as the informal plenipotentiary extraordinaire of the global statesman PNoy Aquino. Plus a number of other trips there in his private capacity. Since he came back absolutely empty-handed, what the hell were all those trips made for?

Again because we’re still in Trillanes’ world, he ought to show us evidence that those trips of his were on the up-and-up and not intended to drum up drug imports. After all, it was under PNoy that the number of drug users being tracked by the Dangerous Drugs Board almost doubled in just a few years’ time.

Come to think of it, how DOES our esteemed former president fit into all of this?

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Yesterday was the 16th anniversary of the terrorist plane attacks on the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.

It’s an anniversary that’s especially poignant for my wife, who used to work on the 103rd floor of Tower Two. It was also in a concourse restaurant under the Twin Towers that I first proposed to her.

The intervening years since 9/11 have seen the face of terrorism change, the tide of terrorist violence ebb and flow, the grim cast of characters replaced one after the other. This year we too were touched again by terrorism, as a local gang of bandits backed by itinerant foreign jihadists laid waste to Marawi City, once the crown jewel of ethnic Muslim architecture and religious culture.

Despite all the times I’ve been back to the States, I still haven’t dropped by New York to see the fully completed buildings that now proudly soar above what was once “ground zero.” Yes, I think it would be a pleasure to finally see them up close, as a reminder that people can and will rebuild their lives, whether in Manhattan or in Marawi, restoring the past, restoring order.

Readers can write me at [email protected]

Topics: Tattoo
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