President Rodrigo Duterte did not name mayors allegedly linked to illegal drugs when he met more than a thousand local chief executives in Malacañang on Wednesday but he identified some judges suspected to be involved in the drug trade.
Mayor Krisel Lagman-Luistro of Tabaco City said the closed-door meeting lasted two hours.
“The President told us that those involved in drugs should stop or face the consequences. He specifically said that he will kill whoever is involved. It was fair warning,” Luistro told The Manila Times.
She said the President did not mention the name of any mayor supposedly in his drug list but he did tick off the name of some judges.
“Just first names of some judges, no Luzon mayors were named,” Luistro said.
She said all mayors in the first district of Albay attended the meeting.
Mayor Noel Rosal of Legazpi, who is also the chairman of the Regional Peace and Order Council in Bicol, said the President should win his war on illegal drugs to save the youth.
“We need to support the President’s anti-drug campaign to save our children, our nation from drug menace,” Rosal said.
Luistro said she’s strongly supporting the President’s anti-drug campaign but drug suspects should be apprehended and prosecuted, not killed.
“Justice should be rehabilitative. How can you rehabilitate a dead person?” she said.
Bulacan mayors also expressed their full support to Duterte’s war against illegal drugs.
Guiguinto Mayor Ambrosio “Boy” Cruz Jr. said the campaign has led to a substantial drop in crime rate.
Presidential Communications Martin Andanar said the President had a “heart-to-heart” talk with more than 1,000 mayors.
“So it was amplifying the message and the policy of the President on the illegal drugs, kasi nga alam naman natin na [because we all know that]this is the priority policy of the President,” he added.
“It was a closed door meeting and the President just wanted to talk to the mayors… He wanted to talk to them in a very intimate manner,” Andanar said.
Duterte’s meeting with mayors came days after he expressed his desire to confront mayors named in his final list of government officials involved in drugs.
“I will call the mayors, I will lock them in so it’s just us. I will really tell them, ‘The list I gave you is this thick. Look for your name there, mayor. If your name is there, son of a bitch, you have a problem,” he said.
“Either you resign or make a clean break of everything, come up with a clean nose and we’ll talk,” the President added.
WITH FREDERICK SILVERIO AND CATHERINE S. VALENTE