MARAWI CITY: Two former mayors mentioned by President Rodrigo Duterte as among politicians allegedly involved in illegal drugs refused to turn themselves in to authorities and vehemently denied being “narco-politicians.”
Fahad “Pre” Salic and his brother Omar “Solitario” Ali, both former mayors of Marawi, instead sent letters to Duterte appealing to revalidate his list of alleged protectors of drug traders.
“Why should I surrender, am I using drugs? Am I trading drugs? Am I protecting drug syndicates? There is no might or power except in Allah,” Salic said in a statement.
Salic’s adviser, Zubair Macaumbos, former Marawi City administrator, told The Manila Times Salic and Ali have “no plans to surrender but they are open for talks” with the President and the chief of the Philippine National Police.
“Surrendering is not a correct term for summoning suspects especially those belonging to a prominent family in Ranao (Lanao del Sur) as they are not proven guilty,” he said.
Another reason for their decision not to go to the police is the refusal of local security forces to escort them.
“They could not just easily go” to local authorities for security reasons after Duterte issued a “shoot-on-sight order” on narco-politicians, said another adviser to Salic.
Moreover, the former mayors believe that being accused of involvement in a business considered haram or prohibited by Islam is “unfair, without due process and politically motivated,” the advisers said.
Duterte also named Solitario’s son, incumbent vice mayor Arafat Salic, who is set to surrender pending his request for “security assistance.”
In their letters addressed to Duterte, copies of which were provided to The Manila Times on Monday, the former Marawi city mayors denied they were drug traders, users or protectors.
“I am a God-fearing person,” said Ali, a former Moro National Liberation Front commander who lost the recent Marawi mayoral race.
Ali is chairman of Duterte’s PDP-Laban party in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
In a separate letter, Salic said: “It is my fervent prayer that I be cleared of these accusations that caused so much embarrassment to me and my family, not only as a political leader but as a traditional leader.”
“I was also a Mujahideen (Islamic soldier), with my brother Omar Solitario Ali, before joining politics,” he added.
Salic, who was previously married to actress Alma Moreno, lost the Lanao del Sur gubernatorial race in the recent election.
In Lanao del Norte, the family of former Pantar mayor Malik “Bobby” Alingan said they were surprised over the appearance of his name on Duterte’s list.
Alingan went to Manila with his lawyers, his son Pao said.