Many mayors are involved in the illegal drug trade in the Philippines, President Rodrigo Duterte declared in a taped news briefing in Malacañang on Thursday.
In his first media interview since assuming the presidency, Duterte presented a chart that showed the web of suspected drug lords and their alleged protectors among local officials and police officers.
Duterte called on the drug dealers and their protectors to "commit suicide."
“Maraming mga mayor dito, they’re running the show,” Duterte told state-run PTV-4 as he presented the information given him by the intelligence community.
"Maraming mayors dito. We have a mayor sa Mindanao, puro mayor, may babae pa.”
He said he was advised by “intel people” not to disclose the names of the local government officials.
“Talagang binabastos tayo ng mga drug people. They’re destroying the country," Duterte said.
"They’re destroying the youth of the land so my appeal to them is, since they are beyond their redemption, they can stop and commit suicide because I will not allow these idiots to run their show; not during my watch,” he added.
Duterte made the remarks after he announced the alleged involvement in illegal drugs of retired PNP generals Marcelo Garbo and Vicente Loot; and active police officials Joel Pagdilao, Edgardo Tinio, and Bernardo Diaz.
He also identified top drug lords operating in the country.
They are Wu Tuan, alias Peter Co; Herbert Colangco, alias Ampang; and Peter Lim, alias Jaguar.
High profile inmates
Co and Colangco are high-profile inmates at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP). Co is reportedly the head of the Bilibid 19, a group of convicted drug offenders detained at the NBP.
“Most of them are inside the national penitentiary. This would show to you how corrosive and how maybe lawak the dimension of the problem regarding drugs,” Duterte said.
Co, he said, was directing the triad operations in Luzon and the National Capital Region; while Lim, who is out of the country, was responsible for the triad in Visayas.
‘Don’t return, you’ll be killed’
Duterte warned Lim not to return to the Philippines or else he would be killed.
“If he has friends here, sabihin mo sa kanya, the moment he lands here at NAIA, he will die...Do not come back to the Philippines anymore, the moment he steps out of the plane, he will die. That is my assurance to the people of the Philippines,” he said.
Colangco, according to Duterte, is the son-in-law of Ozamiz City Mayor Aldong Parojinog.
He said Colangco is “connected with” Richard King, who was slain in Davao City last June 2014. King’s relatives and then Mayor Duterte had offered a P1.3-million reward in exchange for information leading to the arrest of the suspected killer.
“I’m sorry now to say to the public and to his (King) family who is now in Cebu that after all, your family or son was involved in the drug front,” Duterte said.
Colangco was one of the high-profile inmates at the NBP who was found to have lavish accommodations inside the prison.
With studio equipment and music instruments, Colangco even shot music videos inside the penitentiary.
According to Solicitor General Jose Calida, Garbo was identified as "a coddler" of Co and Lim.
“In this level five chart, he is a protector,” Calida said of Garbo.
All five police officials have denied Duterte's allegations. —NB/BAP, GMA News