President Duterte remained committed to his drug war and expected the incoming Marcos administration to continue the crusade with specific focus on politicians involved in the drug trade, Malacanang said on Friday.
The President particularly cited Iloilo City Mayor Jed Mabilog who has reportedly fled the country to evade arrest and prosecution.
But Mabilog’s wife countered that Duterte’s charges as “lies” and “old news.”
“The President’s remarks on Iloilo City Mayor Jed Mabilog reflect his resolute stance against narcopolitics,” acting Presidential Spokesperson and Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said in a press statement.
Andanar said the Chief Executive was giving emphasis to Mabilog’s case to encourage the incoming administration to continue his anti-narcotics campaign.
“President Duterte expects (that) his administration’s very successful anti-drug campaign, where millions have voluntarily surrendered to authorities, will be continued by the incoming administration,” he said.
Duterte was convinced that Mabilog, accused of protecting drug lords, would remain in hiding for another six years.
Duterte issued the statement to emphasize that the drug problem in the country should be taken seriously.
Duterte accused Mabilog of protecting the supposed drug syndicate of Melvin Odicta, an alleged drug lord who was killed in 2017, along with his wife.
Mabilog has not returned to the country after attending a disaster management summit in Japan and an urban environment accords forum in Malaysia in 2017.
His wife and children have also left the country.
The Office of the Ombudsman in October 2017 dismissed Mabilog for his supposed failure to fully declare his wealth. The Court of Appeals however, reversed the decision in a 2021, but Duterte continued to tag Mabilog as one of the so-called narco-politicians.
Marcos, for his part, vowed to continue the drug war and sought to go after big-time drug dealers.
“You had six years to prove to the world that Jed is guilty of your charges and you came up empty. Zero. Zilch. That is why you could never get over him. Your lies just blew in your face,” Mrs. Mabilog said in a Facebook post on Tuesday.
“Who else in this country doesn’t know that lying is Digong’s (Duterte’s) way of life? Even his supporters know that he lies, they just don’t care that he is lying. But EVERYONE KNOWS that he is lying,” the post stated.
She said Duterte, who steps down in June, should concentrate on “finding the real drug lords.”
“Oh but wait, normally you can’t smell the stink that is right under your nose, di ba? Look around you and look into the mirror. You will find the drug lords you have been pretending to look for,” she added.
Duterte in a speech on Sunday mentioned alleged drug lord Melvin Odicta and wife, who were gunned down in Malay, Aklan in 2016.
The President said he instructed “Bong”, apparently referring to his close ally Sen. Christopher Go, to tell then Mayor Mabilog: “Siya na ang isusunod ko.”
“Kaya lumayas, hindi na bumalik, lalo na ang another six years siya. Siguro ‘pag nanalo ‘yung kabila, he will find a refuge,” Duterte said.
“But this time, kung wala na ako, sabihin ko na lang kay Inday, ‘Take over. Ikaw na ang… Kunin mo ‘yang trabahong,’” he added, in an apparent reference to his daughter Vice President-elect Sara Duterte.
The Office of the Ombudsman ordered Mabilog’s dismissal that year for failure to account for his wealth.
Several alleged “narco-politicians” have been killed in the crackdown, including Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr. and Ozamiz City Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog.
The International Criminal Court last year authorized a probe against Duterte’s drug war for alleged crimes against humanity. The investigation has been suspended however as the tribunal assesses the government’s deferral request.