MANILA - A town mayor linked by President Rodrigo Duterte to the illegal drug trade admitted Sunday that he once met with an alleged drug lord in 2013.
Calinog Mayor Alex Centena of Iloilo province said suspected drug lord Melvin "Boyet" Odicta, Sr. talked to him about plans of opening a restaurant in his city.
Centena, who was among over 150 individuals named as drug coddlers by Duterte, added that Odicta also wanted to buy a deer he owned. The mayor did not sell the animal, but eventually swapped his "baboy ramo" (wild boar) for Odicta's Siberian husky.
He said the 2013 meeting was his only encounter with Odicta.
Centena said his political rivals may have given Duterte false information on his alleged drug ties.
Reiterating his support for Duterte's bid to abolish drug rings, he also presented a certification of his contribution to the anti-drug campaign.
The certification was issued by the Sangguniang Bayan, Department of Education-Calinog, former chiefs of police of the town and other organizations.
(DUTERTE'S LIST: 'Narco' politicos, lawmen, judges)
Meanwhile, Mayor Mariano Malones of Maasin, Iloilo also insisted there is no truth to allegations that he is a "narco-politician".
Malones said the claim is politically motivated, noting his opponent in the last election was a supporter of Duterte.
He also pointed out that there is no police record dragging his name in the narcotics trade.
Malones added that he also voted for Duterte in the May 9 elections, because he had stayed for 11 years in Davao City, where Duterte had served as a long-time mayor.
Aside from Malones and Calinog, several other incumbent and former officials of Iloilo province were included in Duterte's list of alleged drug protectors.
Among them were Iloilo City Mayor Jed Mabilog and Carles Mayor Sigfredo Betita, who have both denied any involvement in the underground trade.
(READ: Iloilo mayors deny Duterte drug claims)
Duterte has 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