President Rodrigo Duterte has released a “matrix” of drug lords and politicians who allegedly funded the deadly siege in Marawi City, which entered its fourth month on Saturday.
Duterte, during a dinner with reporters in Davao City late Friday, showed a diagram labeled “LDS (Lanao del Sur) Drug Trade Linked Diagram.” He first revealed it on Thursday during his fifth visit to Marawi City.
The President said the matrix was a result of intelligence work in the last three months, when government troops were able to gain access to Marawi.
“That’s for public consumption already. The details on how they operated the drug campaign in Marawi and the entire of Mindanao…I told them that we should make it public already, it’s no use keeping it a secret, for what? We cannot consume it. That would explain really the so many killings here,” Duterte told reporters.
“There they discovered that the Maute was really preparing for a long haul. Until now, they have never ran out of ordnance, explosives, ammunitions, and all. I really do not know the extent now of the contamination,” he added.
Mautes not the protagonists
Duterte claimed the purported IS emir in Southeast Asia, Isnilon Hapilon, and the Maute brothers who led the insurgency in Marawi City were far from “being the main protagonists.”
“On the list, it’s really those who are in the government,” the President said.
However, Duterte said the government did not yet know how much of the alleged drug money was used to fund terrorist activities.
“How come that Marawi until now is still fighting? Let me ask you a question. We’re in the third month. How come the Maute brothers and the terrorists were able to stockpile so much ordnance and bullets and ammunition and IED? Where did they get that?” he asked.
“And three months, I said, there were still fighting. I don’t know if there’s fighting going on. But that is one. And we were looking for the source of the money. And I will just point out to you,” he added.
Duterte then claimed that slain Ozamiz City Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog was one of those who poured cash on the extremists that occupied Marawi.
Some local officials in Central Mindanao are also financing terrorists, he said, but did not elaborate.
The single-page matrix has a column on each side. The left names “drug lords,” who include a number of incumbent local executives, the right names “drug dealers,” and the center contains circles within which are the names of “narco-politicians” and other major players. Arrows show their supposed connections to each other.
Among those mentioned in the center is the “Parojinog Drug Trade (Ozamiz City),” an obvious reference to the network allegedly run by the late Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog.
Other politicians whose names appear on the matrix are Mayors Noron Dadayan of Buadiposo Buntong and Hadji Jamal Abdusalam of Mulondo, and Vice Mayor Noridin Adiong of Ditsaan Ramain, all in Lanao del Sur.
They are in the “drug lords” column.
Other names in the center are former Marawi mayors Fahad “Pre” Salic and Solitario Omar Ali, who were both arrested soon after the Marawi crisis erupted on May 23, as well as Solitario’s son Arafat, the incumbent vice mayor. The President further tagged at least 19 “drug dealers,” including a councilor and several village executives.
“All drug trade in LDS pass to former mayor Pre and Solitario [through]barangay chairman Aliodin, and Vice Mayor Arafat and brother[s]Samer and Walid, respectively,” the drug matrix read.
“Pre and Solitario authored the kidnapping and liquidation of all drug lords… Arrows indicate drug trade control relationship,” it added.
On the night of the National Day of Protest on September 21, Duterte admitted to ordering the wiretapping of some government officials allegedly involved in the illegal drug trade.
“Whoever he was talking to, I was listening to him. Don’t ask me how I, [and]what kind of listening device [I had]. It was a whisper from God I was listening to,” he said, referring to the alleged involvement of Parojinog and Iloilo Mayor Jed Mabilog in illegal drugs.
Asked if what Duterte was doing was within legal bounds, Palace spokesman Ernesto Abella said the President always adhered to the law.
“I’m sure that being a lawyer, he was operating within [the]bounds of legality,” Abella said on Friday.
On May 23, the President placed the entire Mindanao under military rule after the Islamic State-linked Maute terrorist overran Marawi City.
After the declaration reached the 60-day limit, Congress overwhelmingly voted to extend martial rule in the strife-torn region until yearend.
Duterte earlier admitted there was a failure of intelligence in the course of the bloody standoff.
He likewise blamed Maranaos who were supposedly “in cahoots” with the extremists.
The President has also repeatedly said that drug money fueled the insurrection in Marawi.
In July, government forces discovered 11 kilograms of high-grade methamphetamine or shabu during clearing operations in Marawi.
A few days later, authorities seized two kilos of shabu worth P10 million in the house of former Marawi mayor Omar Solitario Ali.
A total of 673 terrorists, 47 civilians and 149 government troopers have died since the clashes started, according to latest official data.