MANILA—Manila Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso on Friday said the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) "can do what they want" and file charges after the agency issued a show cause order for the capital city's failure to curb illegal drugs in 2018.
Domagoso had dismissed the memorandum on social media, noting that he was elected Manila mayor in 2019.
On ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo on Friday, he said what the DILG does is out of his hands.
"They can do what they want to do. I'm busy attending to the COVID-19," he said.
"They can file charges if they want to. Who will hinder them? I still continue to believe that there is democracy in this country."
The document, ordering Domagoso to explain why he and other local officials should not be held administratively liable for the alleged failure of the previous city administration, was issued on July 9, 2021.
The show-cause order against Domagoso was only made public on Thursday.
The DILG has since withdrawn the order, saying it was an "inadvertent re-issuance."
The DILG directive emerged as throngs of people overwhelmed vaccination sites in Manila and other cities, as they feared not being immunized could land them in jail during enhanced community quarantine in Metro Manila.
That disinformation circulated hours before Domagoso was expected to take his oath as a member of Aksyon Demokratiko, fueling speculation that he was eyeing the presidency in next year's elections.
When asked if he thought the show-cause order was part of a campaign to tarnish his reputation, Domagoso said: "Bilib naman ako sa kanila. Dapat maghanap-buhay sila sa Quiapo para mahulaan nila ano magaganap bukas. Mukhang alam nila."
(I'm impressed. They should work in Quiapo, so they can predict what is going to happen. It seems they know so much already.)
The Manila Mayor said he does not expect an apology from the DILG, noting that this is the second time the agency issued a faulty show cause order against him.
"Sa akin parang pumasok sa isang tenga, labas sa kabilang tenga," he said.
(To me, it goes in one ear and exits through the other ear.)
"It is not up to me to ask [for an apology]. Kanya-kanya tayo ng character sa buhay and someday magkikita kita din tayo sa Panginoong Diyos," he said.
(It's not up to me to ask for an apology. We have our own characters to play in life and someday, we will all have to face our Creator.)
- with a report from Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News