Duterte warns anew against narco-mayors

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File photo of President Rodrigo R. Duterte, during the Ceremonial Signing of the 2018 General Appropriations Act (GAA) and Tax Reform Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) in Malacañan Palace on Dec. 19. -- KARL NORMAN ALONZO/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

PRESIDENT Rodrigo R. Duterte warned narco-mayors anew against using their offices for drug trafficking.

“I’m renewing the warning to mayors. Huwag kayong mag-kumpiyansa sa ’yang ginagawa ninyo (Do not be complacent),” Mr. Duterte said in his speech on Saturday, March 10, at the Edwin Andrews Air Base in Zamboanga City.

“Do not feel so invulnerable na pati ’yung mga pulis ninyo pinapatay ninyo (that you even order your policemen killed). And you are using the Office of the Mayor as your platform for drugs distribution,” he added.

The President likewise threatened to strike the “narco politicians” with full force. “Hihiritan kita (I will strike you down) because you are destroying the nation.”

Prior to his speech, Mr. Duterte conferred the Order of Lapu-Lapu Rank of Kampilan to 10 military officers and personnel and Rank of Kamagi to 22 others.

The Presidential News Desk (PND) said the Order of Lapu-Lapu Rank of Kampilan is awarded to military officers and personnel who were seriously wounded or injured or suffered great loss of property as a direct result of their participation in the President’s advocacies, while the Rank of Kamagi is awarded to individuals for their exceptional or significant contributions to Mr. Duterte’s campaign against crime and terrorism and on disaster-control.

For his part, Presidential Spokesman Herminio Harry L. Roque, Jr. said in his press briefing in Iloilo City that former mayor Jed Patrick E. Mabilog may seek protection from the courts if there is any threat to his life.

“If he really thinks there’s a threat to his life, file a writ of amparo and ask for protection from our courts,” Mr. Roque said.

On March 7, Mr. Duterte said in his speech in Tarlac that he has been looking for Mr. Mabilog whom he had tagged as a narco-politician. “ I will really kill him,” the President said.

“Well, he could avail (himself) of the existing instruments and remedies already found in the statute book,” Mr. Roque said regarding Mr. Mabilog, adding that the mayor’s fleeing the country is “evidence of guilt.”

“Flight is evidence of guilt. Kung gusto niyang linisin ang pangalan niya, umuwi siya dito at harapin ang mga bintang laban sa kaniya (If he wants to clear his name, he should return home and face the allegations against him). Pero habang siya ay nagtatago (But while he is hiding), [it’s a] continuing evidence of guilt!” Mr. Roque said.

As for barangay officials allegedly involved in illegal drugs, the spokesman said the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) has intensified its barangay drug-clearing campaign.

“Well, patuloy po naman ang ating DILG na nagmo-monitor. At ang tingin ko po ay dapat nga po na ngayon pa lang ay isa-publiko na ng DILG kung sino iyang mga nasa listahan nila nang magkaroon naman ng basehan ang ating taongbayan kung bakit hindi nila susuportahan ang ilang barangay officials natin,” Mr. Roque said. (Well, there is an ongoing monitoring by the DILG. I think the DILG should present its drug list to the public so the people to have a basis whether they should still support some of their barangay officials.) — Arjay L. Balinbin