Drug war won’t exempt mayors, says Duterte

BY GLENDA SOLOGASTOA

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

ILOILO City – There was no name-shaming when the tough-talking President Rodrigo Duterte met with the country’s mayors in Malacañang yesterday afternoon but he brandished to them his list of local chief executives allegedly involved in illegal drugs.

The list also included the names of barangay captains, governors and policemen, according to Mayor Jett Rojas of Ajuy, Iloilo who attended the meeting.

To the mayors’ relief, there was no roll calling of names in the list but Rojas said the President again reiterated his stern warning to those involved in illegal drugs: better resign, stop their illegal activities, or die.

Duterte apparently forwarded his drug list to the Department of Interior and Local Government. An undersecretary of the department brought the list to the meeting, Rojas told Panay News.

The meeting with mayors was done in three batches, said Rojas, the president of the League of Municipalities f the Philippines, Iloilo chapter.

The first batch Duterte met were mayors from the Visayas and the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

The meeting started at 2 p.m. and lasted for more than an hour, Rojas said.

Four Iloilo mayors failed to attend the meeting – Alex Centena of Calilog, Oscar Garin of Guimbal, Adolfo Jaen of Leganes, and Jesry Palmares of Passi City. They cited health concerns for not making it, said Rojas.

Centena was one of the four Iloilo mayors Duterte publicly named and shamed in August last year for their alleged involvement in illegal drugs as protectors of traffickers. The three others were Siegfredo Betita of Carles, Jed Patrick Mabilog of Iloilo City and Mariano Malones of Maasin but they all denied their involvement.

Betita, Mabilog and Malones were present in the Palace meeting yesterday.

“As usual, he told us that mayors will be in trouble if they continue supporting or shielding illegal drugs,” Betita told Panay News.

Mabilog and Malones could not be reached for comment as of this writing.

Duterte summoned the mayors to Malacañang a day after threatening to kill local chief executives linked to illegal drugs.

“As long as I’m President, big shabu dealers will die and the next batch would be these mayors. I will call them and lock them up,” said Duterte in a speech in Malacañang on Monday.

Yesterday, he presented to the mayors an overview of his war on drugs, including the latest statistics. He stressed this was for the benefit of the future generations.

“The President emphasized that the campaign against illegal drugs will be relentless and he sought the cooperation of the mayors,” said Rojas.

But illegal drugs was just one of the concerns discussed with the mayors, he stressed. The DILG also talked about the direction of the Duterte administration for 2017, he said.

“We appreciate the President’s spending time with us, mayors. He faced us and talked to us,” said Rojas.

In his speech on Monday, the President said, “I will talk to them. With the thick document I showed you, I will tell them: ‘Look for your name there, mayor, you son of a b**ch. If your name is there, you have a problem. I will really kill you.’”

There are 145 city mayors and 1,490 municipal mayors in the country. Iloilo province has 42 municipal mayors and city mayor (component city of Passi)./PN