MANILA (UPDATED) - President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday named a few more politicians allegedly involved in the illegal drug trade.
In a speech during the 2016 Presidential Awards for Filipino Individuals & Organizations Overseas at Malacañang, Duterte tagged former Iligan City officials Rep. Vicente Belmonte, Mayor Lawrence Cruz, and a certain Mayor Willy Lim as politicians allegedly involved in illegal drugs.
"This is the drug industry of the Philippines. In here are the names of municipal mayors, almost all of the barangay captains, and a few..., a senator," Duterte said, showing of his list of narco-politicians.
Duterte reiterated that the country's drug problem has been going on for a long time but it was only during his term that people became aware of this problem.
"Why in the past, walang shabu, walang ano? Because, the answer is very simple. We have been a narco-politics country, hindi natin alam until I became president of this country," he said.
"When I started to squeeze everybody, then I found out that there are municipal mayors, barangay captains, governors and a few congressmen were in the business of shabu," Duterte added.
Duterte said it may take his entire term to solve the problem, contrary to what he promised during the campaign period.
"This is my problem, and maybe it will take my life, or my entire term to solve it," he said.
During his campaign, Duterte said he will solve the country's drug and crime problem within three to six months.
In September, he asked for more time to solve the country's woes.
Meanwhile, Belmonte and Cruz are now planning to submit themselves to the Congress for investigation following Duterte’s allegations against them.
Belmonte and Cruz denied that they are involved in the illegal drug trade and promised that they will appear before the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency and PNP Director General Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa.
They added that they want to find out who told Duterte of their alleged involvement in the illegal drug trade and that they are prepared to file charges against their accusers.
Belmonte said his political enemies are behind the allegations Cruz fears that this may lead to an “Oplan Tokhang” against him. -- with reports from Roxanne Arevalo, ABS-CBN News