Iloilo mayors deny Duterte drug claims


Posted at Aug 07 2016 11:52 AM

MANILA - Two town mayors from Iloilo province on Sunday denied President Rodrigo Duterte's allegation that they are involved in the illegal drug trade. 

Iloilo City Mayor Jed Mabilog said it is "very unfortunate and disconcerting" that his name was included in the long list of "narco-politicians" tagged by Duterte. 

"I can categorically say that I am not involved in the protection, trade and use of illegal drugs," he said at a press conference. 

"I am willing to open myself for any investigation, cooperate and submit myself to any court of law." 

Iloilo City Mayor Jed Mabilog holds a press conference about his alleged drug links.

Mabilog, a long-time politician, also claimed that his determined efforts, including his "uncompromising stance" against narcotics, transformed his turf into a "premiere city."

"My programs against illegal drugs, since I became mayor, has always been consistent," he said. 

The local chief executive also told his constituents that he has always served them "with honesty, integrity, competence and accountability." 

(WATCH: Duterte reads list of VIP drug suspects)

Meanwhile, Mayor Sigfredo Betita of Carles, Iloilo said he is not worried at all about his inclusion in Duterte's list. 

In a phone interview with ABS-CBN News, he denied any involvement in illegal drugs and claimed that the allegation was politically motivated. 

But he also admitted that alleged drug lord Melvin "Boyet" Odicta, Sr. is his distant relative. 

Odicta visited his family during the wake of his late brother, Arnold Betita, who also served as town mayor. 

Odicta and the current mayor also previously met at several family gatherings. 

Betita, however, said Odicta insisted that there is no truth to the allegations that he is a top drug trafficker. 

The mayor will present himself to the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Regional Office on Monday, in a bid to clear his name. 

Aside from Betita and Mabilog, several other local officials from Iloilo province were accused by Duterte of being drug tainted. 

Among them were Maasin Vice Mayor Francis Ansing Amboy, Judge Savilo of Iloilo City, Calinog Mayor Alex Centena and Maasin Mayor Marciano Malones. 

DUTERTE'S LIST: 'Narco' politicos, lawmen, judges

Duterte also dubbed Iloilo as the most "shabulized" province in the country, given the extent of methamphetamine use there. -- With reports from Joyce Ann Clavecillas, ABS-CBN News