THREE POLITICIANS from Lanao del Sur surrendered to the Philippine National Police (PNP) in Camp Crame on Friday, just hours after President Rodrigo Duterte ordered law enforcers to “shoot on sight” local government officials involved in illegal drugs.
The PNP chief, Director General Ronald “Bato” de la Rosa, told reporters Mayor Mamaulan Abinal Molok of Maguing town and former mayor Ali Abinal of Marantao town had received information that they were on Duterte’s list of 27 “narco-politicians.”
Molok and Abinal spoke to reporters, vowing to change their ways and help in the government’s fight against illegal drugs.
“They want to start anew and help the war against illegal drugs. Why run if you can help? They were really involved in illegal drugs, that is why they surrendered. They admitted it,” de la Rosa said.
The two operated under a certain “Marimar” and distributed narcotics in Quiapo, Manila, Caloocan and Cavite from 2000 to 2002, de la Rosa said.
But they denied that they were involved in the drug trade in their respective municipalities in Lanao del Sur.
The two were immediately brought to the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG).
Mayor Rasul Sangki of Ampatuan, Maguindanao later surrendered to the CIDG and gave a statement.
De la Rosa said Sangki was expected to surrender together with Molok and Abinal, but got stuck in traffic in Guadalupe, Makati.
Earlier this week, Albuera, Leyte Mayor Ronaldo Espinosa surrendered to the PNP, beating the shoot-on-sight order issued by President Duterte.
Mayor Espinosa acknowledged that his son Kerwin was involved in illegal drugs and was getting banned substances from Peter Co, a top drug lord who is jailed at the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa.
A shoot-on-sight order remains in place for the younger Espinosa after he failed to surrender to the authorities within the 24-hour deadline given by Duterte on Monday.
De la Rosa said he would evict Mayor Espinosa and his wife, who are staying at the “White House,” the official residence of the PNP chief.
The Espisosas, he said, were heavy smokers. Moreover, Kerwin has yet to turn himself in despite repeated appeals.
President Duterte was expected to name the 27 narco-politicians on Friday, but did not do so in his speeches in Davao City and Capiz.
In a statement, presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said Duterte’s shoot-on-sight order was “congruent” with his policy of maintaining peace and order in the country.
However, Abella clarified that shoot-on-sight would only happen in case the narco-politicians resist arrest by authorities.
“He has given due and ample notice that the clear and present danger of drugs engulfing the nation will be addressed and law enforcers will neutralize those who resist or endanger the lives of arresting officers,” Abella said.
In Davao City, Duterte said he would answer for government forces involved in shooting incidents in compliance with his order.
“For as long as it is done in the performance of the duty by the police and soldiers, that’s my responsibility, that is my official and personal guarantee,” the President said.
“If there are police involved in an encounter, do not investigate them anymore, that is my order,” he added.