Recto insists Halili was against drugs; De Lima blames Duterte for mayor’s death

Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto on Tuesday hailed slain Tanauan City Mayor Antonio Halili as he insisted that the controversial local executive was against illegal drugs.

This was contrary to President Rodrigo Duterte’ suspicion that Halili’s killing had something to do with his alleged links to illegal drugs.

Hours after Halili was killed, President Duterte said he warned the mayor not to get involved in drugs. “He pretends that the illegal drug problem is getting worse; he pretends to parade the drug addicts. He was killed earlier. I don’t know who killed him. I said not to get involved in illegal drugs,” the President said.

READ: Duterte: I told Halili not to get involved in illegal drugs

Asked to comment on the President’s remark, Recto said n a text message, “I know Mayor Tony was against drug use and criminality in the City of Tanauan.”

“In a short period of time, Tanauan became more peaceful and prosperous. He did a good job as mayor,” Recto added.

Recto was among the first to condemn the assassination of the mayor, who was gunned down by a suspected sniper while attending the city hall’s flag ceremony on Monday.

READ: Recto on Tanauan mayor’s slay: There’s a sniper on the loose in Batangas

Blaming Duterte

Meanwhile, detained Senator Leila de Lima, blamed President Duterte for Halili’s death.

“Duterte may not have fired the gun that killed Mayor Antonio Halili of Tanauan, Batangas, but he most certainly murdered him with his words,” said De Lima, a known critic of Duterte, in a separate statement.

“Ordinarily, it might be true that words do not kill. But when one is the President, words become orders. This is how Duterte gives the killers their mandate to kill and protects them from whatever semblance of the law still remains under his administration,” De Lima said, noting the president’s earlier warning to local officials involved in drugs.   /vvp

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