MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday admitted he ordered the wiretapping of politicians allegedly engaged in the drug trade.
In his visit to Marawi City Thursday, Duterte made the admission while discussing the alleged drug involvement of Iloilo Mayor Jed Mabilog and the slain Ozamiz City Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog.
"I was listening to him. Don't ask me how I- what kind of listening device. It was a whisper from God I was listening to. So they were all tapped,” he said.
"I was the one who ordered it. I cannot name the people there--they are police, or..." he added.
The Palace quickly defended the President's admission on Friday.
“I'm sure that being a lawyer, he was operating within bounds of legality,” Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said.
The President's admission came in the wake of Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre's complaint that he was a victim of wiretapping by opposition Senator Risa Hontiveros.
During his Marawi visit, Duterte also claimed some personalities and politicians are funding the terror activities in the war-torn city.
“I've been telling you that there is a flood of drugs here. Marawi is one. Everyone there was producing shabu,” he said.
“How come the Maute brothers and the terrorists were able to stockpile so much orments, bullets and ammunitions. Saan nila kinuha yun? And three months, I said, we're still fighting,” he added.
Meanwhile, military forces on Friday regained control of the Raya Madaya Bridge, also known as Masiu Bridge around noon.
Military officials said improvised explosive devices till hinder state troops from clearing the city.
The terrorists still control an area of less than 10 hectares in the city, they added.
Fighting between state troops and Islamic State-linked terrorists erupted on May 23, prompting at least 200,000 residents to flee. The conflict has left more than 800 dead and much of the once bustling city in ruins.