MANILA - Facing complaints for the proliferation of drugs in his turf, Quezon City Mayor Herbert "Bistek" Bautista insisted that he has been an anti-drug crusader ever when he was still in show business as a young actor.
At the same time, the mayor emphasized he had no say in the selection of two city police chiefs earlier tagged by President Rodrigo Duterte as drug coddlers.
"I am not and will never involve myself in the illegal drug trade. Antidrug is my advocacy since I was 17 years old,"Bautista said, as quoted by a Philippine Daily Inquirer report.
The Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) on Friday sued Bautista and his brother, Councilor Hero Bautista, for failing to combat the illegal drug trade in Quezon City since he assumed office in 2010.
(READ: Raps filed vs Herbert, Hero over illegal drugs in QC)
VACC chairman Dante Jimenez also questioned why two former Quezon City Police District (QCPD) heads -- Chief Superintendents Edgardo Tinio and Joel Pagdilao -- were linked to illegal drug trade.
Mayor Bautista, however, stressed that he was not involved in choosing the district director of QCPD.
"Even if the law provides that local chief executives will have to choose from among three to five names from the list given by the (Philippine National Police), not a single list reached me," he said.
He added that even before he became mayor in 2010, it was already a practice to appoint the QCPD directors "without any consultation or 'courtesy'" to the mayor.
Bautista also addressed criticisms that vice of his brother Hero, who has recently admitted to being a "victim of the drug menace."
"When this controversy arose, many were asking why didn’t I bother to scold or proactively take action about my brother’s drug use," he said, as quoted by Inquirer.
"Hero is 48 years old, has his own family, is independent from us. We barely see or talk to each other because we, as individuals, have our own set of lives and concerns."
Bautista said he is also "proud" that his younger brother has taken responsibility and is now undergoing drug rehabilitation.
The mayor is currently in Oslo, Norway for the peace talks of the Philippine government with the National Democratic Front (NDF).