‘Most ‘shabulized’ province?: Ilonggos shocked over Duterte’s claim

KD Suarez
‘Most ‘shabulized’ province?: Ilonggos shocked over Duterte’s claim
Alleged narco-politicians, judges, and police personnel from Western Visayas are named for the magnitude and extent of shabu use in the region

ILOILO CITY, Philippines – Ilonggos took to Twitter their disbelief that President Rodrigo Duterte named Iloilo as the most “shabulized” province in the country. The President was referring to the magnitude and extent of shabu use in the province. (READ: Duterte names officials linked to drugs)

Some netizens felt sad and weary about the infamous and deadly tag. 



Others were not as surprised to hear the news.


Some took the claim lightly through jokes and memes.


Oplan Toktok Hangyo

Oplan Toktok Hangyo, commonly known as Oplan Tokhang, brought a total of 423 drug pushers and users including 24 on the police watch-list to voluntarily surrender in Iloilo City Police Station 1 (ICPS 1) in July.

Among the persons allegedly involved as drug protectors in the province are  mayors Alex Centena of Calinog, Salagunting Betita of Carles, Mariano Malones of Maasin and Jed Patrick Mabilog of Iloilo City.

Duterte also indicated former Guimaras Representative, JC Rahman Nava, Vice Mayor Francis Amboy of Maasin, regional trial court (RTC) judge Sabillo, former city councilor Erwin Plagata, lawyer Antonio Pesina, and Jeffrey Celiz. Celiz was the former spokesperson and executive assistant of Mabilog.

The list also included several police personnel both active in service and retired. He also ordered the police and military officers serving as security teams of the above stated politicians to report to their mother units.

According to PSupt Gilbert Gorrero of the Police Regional Office-6 headquarters in Iloilo City, PRO-6 recalled all Philippine National Police (PNP) personnel who were mentioned in the list.

He also added that all security escorts of the mayors were included in the recall and were ordered to report right away to their immediate supervisors.

Iloilo City mayor denies involvement

Mabilog earlier denied the allegation and called for a speedy investigation.

Mabilog stressed in a press conference that he supports Duterte’s drive against illegal drugs, noting that he has implimented programs against illegal drugs since he became mayor.

“The record will speak for itself – that my administration was always in full support of the needs of the PNP and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), the agencies primarily responsible for the suppression and elimination of illegal drugs in the city, and I have never been remiss in this duty and obligation,’’ he said.

He categorically denied his involvement: “I am not involved in the protection, trade and use of illegal drugs. I am willing to open myself for any investigation, cooperate and submit myself to any court of law.”  He also requested for authorities to conduct a speedy investigation since the matter endangers his personal security and life.

Mayor Alex Centina of Calinog clarified that his only association to Iloilo’s alleged drug lord, Melvin Odicta, was purely business.

“He approached me wanting to buy a wild boar, but I told him that I can give it to him in exchange for a Siberian Husky. I knew him as a businessman and a taxi operator,” Centena clarified.

Meanwhile, Maasin Mayor Mariano Malones Sr, appealed to the office of the PNP Regional Office 6 to ask for assistance in the speedy investigation of his involvement in the narco-list.

“My conscience is clear. I have not personally seen a speck of drugs in my lifetime. I do not know any of these drugs personalities either,” Malones said.

Ilonggo leaders call for fairness before the law

Ilonggo Senator Franklin Drilon earlier urged Duterte to immediately charge those in the narco-list administratively or in court, saying that if the officials were indeed involved, due process and the rule of law should take its course.

“I strongly support President Duterte’s anti-drug campaign but due process and the rule of law must be dutifully upheld,” Drilon said in a statement. He also indicated his concern over Iloilo being branded negatively due to the association of its local leader’s alleged involvement in the illegal drug trade.

“All the efforts of the Ilonggos for the past 5 years to make Iloilo an attractive and progressive investment destination and a livevable city is negated by a sweeping judgement of the city and the province of Iloilo,” he said.

He added that “whatever these officials may have allegedly done are their individual acts and cannot be the collective guilt of the Ilonggos.”

Representative Jerry Trenas of the lone district of Iloilo also expressed his full support for Duterte’s action to clean up the country of illegal drugs.

“I will give my utmost in my capacity to ensure that this campaign will succeed. Mayor Jed should be given a chance to clear himself in a legal proceeding so that he will be able to present evidence,” Trenas said in his official statement.

Iloilo Governor Art Defensor also stated his support with the alleged  narco-mayors of Iloilo. “As a lawyer, it would have been best if the cases were filled against those in the list before calling for a press conference and naming these personalities. But we can’t really lecture the president,” Defensor said on an interview.

“I doubt very much whether the figure or data of PDEA and PNP will justify the statement of the President that Iloilo is the most shabulized province,” Defensor added. 

Drilon, Defensor, Trenas and Mabilog ran under Liberal Party during the 2016 elections. – Rappler.com

Russel Jude Patina Mendez is a Rappler Mover in Iloilo City.

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