MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte was fed false information about slain Tanauan, Batangas Mayor Antonio Halili's alleged involvement with narcotics, the latter's grieving daughter said Tuesday.
Halili, who gained notoriety for parading suspected criminals through Tanauan, was shot dead during a flag-raising ceremony in his city on Monday. His killer escaped.
Hours later, Duterte slammed the late mayor, saying the latter pretended to be an anti-illegal drug crusader to cover up his supposed drug activities.
"Hindi ko rin naman masisisi iyung Presidente natin na makapagsalita ng ganoon kung siya naman ay nabibigyan ng mga hindi totoong impormasyon at ang mga impormasyon na ibinibigay sa kaniya ay nakakasakit at nakakapanira lang po sa mga taong gumagawa ng maganda," the mayor's daughter Angeline told ABS-CBN News.
(I cannot blame our President for saying that if he was being given false information and information meant to hurt and malign people who are doing good.)
"Ang naririnig na side pa lang naman ng Presidente natin is iyung side ng mga tao doon, mga false feed sa kaniya. Kung si Presidente natin pumunta sa amin, to be with us every day, he would know the truth," she added, holding back tears.
(Our President has only heard the side of his people there, the false feed. If our President would visit us to be with us every day, he would know the truth.)
Angeline said the drug allegations against her father are "hearsay" and have not been backed by any evidence.
The late mayor and his family, she said, had sought to sway their constituents away from illegal drugs through programs promoting sports, education, free medicine and cultural fests.
"We're honest people. We're not gonna do anything na makakasira sa mga buhay ng ibang tao, lalo na mga tao namin dito sa Tanauan. Ang gusto lang namin is makatulong at malinis lang," she added.
(We're not gonna do anything that will destroy the lives of other people, especially our constituents here in Tanauan. All we wanted to do was help and clean up the city.)
"We were trying to give them a better future, that was what my father was trying to do. We're fighting for the people and my father has been living for the people," she added.
Halili received threats to his life before his "cowardly" killing, said Angeline.
Halili had compared himself to Duterte as he publicly shared the president's hardline position against crime and illegal drugs.
But in 2017, Halili's name surfaced on a "narco-list" presented by Duterte, of officials allegedly linked to narcotics. The mayor was stripped of control of the police following the publication of the list.
Three other mayors on the "narco-list" have been shot dead, including Rolando Espinosa of Albuera, Leyte; Reynaldo "Aldong" Parojinog of Ozamiz City; and Samsudin Dimaukom of Datu Saudi Ampatuan, Maguindanao.
With a report from Agence France-Presse