War on drugs: Duterte finds an ally in Mangudadatu
DAVAO CITY – Maguindanao Governor Esmael Mangudadatu said he would help the incoming Duterte administration in its campaign against illegal drugs.
“I will talk to President-elect (Rodrigo Duterte) and I will tell him who are behind and how drugs enter the province,” Mangudadatu said in an interview on Saturday.
Mangudadatu said he had relayed this information to the Philippine Drugs Enforcement Agency, but was told that he needed proof.
“That’s why nothing happened,” he said.
Earlier, incoming Philippine National Police Director Ronald dela Rosa said the police anti-drugs campaign would prioritize the National Capital Region, Regions 3, 4, 6, 7 and the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
Dela Rosa said drugs that entered Region 11 or Southern Mindanao came from Maguindanao, which belongs to ARMM.
But Mangudadatu said he was sure drugs were not manufactured in Cotabato City or Maguindanao.
“Yes, there are illegal drugs in Cotabato and Maguindanao but these were not made there,” he said.
He said drugs were being transported to Maguindanao from Manila.
“That’s why checkpoints in ports should be strengthened,” he said.
“They (police) should check the wheels, tires and even the tanks of the vehicles that were being used to transport drugs by land,” he added.
Mangudadatu also sees some resistance in the campaign against drugs as some members of the private armed groups of the Ampatuan clan allegedly serve as “protectors of drug dealers.”
“The President-elect should act on these private armed groups of the Ampatuans because they protect these drug dealers,” he said.
Some members of the Ampatuan clan are facing charges for the 2009 massacre of 58 people, 32 of them media workers, in Maguindanao. Among those killed were the wife, two sisters, relatives and civilian supporters of Mangudadatu. They were on their way to file Mangudadatu’s certificate of candidacy for governor when they were blocked by armed men supposedly led by then Datu Unsay Mayor Andal Ampatuan Jr.
Mangudadatu was then challenging the power of the Ampatuans in Maguindanao politics.
In the interview on Saturday, Mangudadatu said he was going to help Duterte deliver his promises to the people as his way of returning a favor.
“I owe a lot to him (Duterte). During the Maguindanao massacre, he helped us find a helicopter,” he said.
Mangudadatu said that by using the helicopter, they were able to locate the massacre site before Ampatuan’s men could bury all the victims.
“That’s one of the untold stories of how Duterte helped us,” he said./ac/rga
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