Iloilo mayors told: ‘You have nothing to fear’

Governor Arthur Defensor Sr. on Thursday said mayors in the province of Iloilo have nothing to fear.

“No more mayors here are included on the narco-list of President Rodrigo Duterte,” Defensor said.

According to him, Calinog Mayor Alex Centena, Maasin Mayor Mariano Malones, and Carles Mayor Siegfredo Betita were already cleared of their involvement in illegal drugs.

The three local chief executives were named by Duterte as alleged drug protectors in 2016.

In a previous report by IMT News, Defensor said House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) secretary-general, told him that the names of the three mayors were no longer on Duterte’s “updated” list.

In January this year, Centena and Malones took their oath as members of the ruling PDP-Laban.

Amo na ginpasulod sila sa partido kay wala na sila sa listahan,” Defensor said.

The President, during his first visit in Iloilo since he took the highest elected post, said that he was clueless about the transfer of Centena and Malones to his political party.

“I don’t know that they are part of PDP-Laban already. I have to check,” Duterte said in a press conference in the town of Sara last Feb. 22.

Meanwhile, League of the Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP)-Iloilo and Ajuy Mayor Jett Rojas said they would discuss concerns about the safety and security of mayors in the province during their regular meeting on July 27.

“We will invite Police Regional Office (PRO-6) Director Chief Superintendent John Bulalacao,” he told the media.

On Monday, July 2, Tanauan, Batangas Mayor Antonio Halili was gunned down by a sniper while attending a flag-raising ceremony in his town.

Halili was allegedly involved in the illegal drug trade.

The following day, another mayor was killed. General Tinio, Nueva Ecija Mayor Ferdinand Bote died in a broad daylight ambush.

The motive behind the murder of Bote is still being established.

From July 1, 2016 to July 6, 2018, a total of 10 mayors and four vice mayors were killed.

Out of the 10, four were on the narco-list.IMT