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Ilonggos upset, galvanized by Duterte’s ‘shabulized’ tag

Defensor seeks basis for President's allegations, Treña welcomes move by Chief Executive, Drilon saddened
/ 07:35 AM August 08, 2016
Iloilo Gov. Arthur Defensor and Senator Franklin Drilon (FILE PHOTO by GUIJO DUENAS/2012)

Iloilo Gov. Arthur Defensor and Senator Franklin Drilon (FILE PHOTO by GUIJO DUENAS/2012)

ILOILO CITY — Iloilo most “shabulized?”

Ilonggos were split on President Duterte’s newly coined label on Iloilo to emphasize his assessment that the province has the worst illegal drugs problem in the country.

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Iloilo Gov. Arthur Defensor said he was unsure if the point of reference of the President was Western Visayas or the entire country.

“If he meant that Iloilo was the worst nationwide, I doubt that very much,” Defensor told the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

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But he said he would ask the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and Philippine National Police (PNP) for data that served as basis for the President’s statement.

Duterte made the remark during his televised speech early Sunday, naming officials, policemen, and other individuals involved in illegal drugs.

He spoke partly in Hiligaynon while naming the Iloilo officials, which included Iloilo City Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog and Mayors Alex Centena (Calinog), Salagunting Betita (Carles) and Mariano Malones Sr. (Maasin).

Defensor said he would also ask the PNP to immediately investigate Iloilo officials named by the President.

“If they are guilty, they should be punished. If not, they can be exonerated even if the damage has already been done,” he said.

Sen. Franklin, Drilon, stalwart of the Liberal Party and a native of Iloilo, said in a statement that he was “saddened and hurt that the perception that Iloilo local officials are involved in the drug trade became the basis of such a sweeping description of Iloilo.”

He expressed support for the President’s campaign against illegal drugs “but due process and the rule of law must be dutifully upheld.”

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“All the efforts of the Ilonggos for the past five years to make Iloilo an attractive and progressive investment destination and a livable city is negated by a sweeping judgment of the city and province of Iloilo. Whatever these officials may have allegedly done are their individual acts, and cannot be the collective guilt of the Ilonggos,” Drilon said in the statement.

Iloilo Rep. Jerry Treñas said he was aware of the drug problem in the city but was shocked with its prevalence.

He said drastic measures should be taken to address the situation.

Treñas, who belonged to the Liberal Party, has bolted to the PDP-Laban, the President’s political party, shortly after the May 9elections.

Other Ilonggos expressed varied views on the President’s remarks.

In social media sites of Iloilo radio stations, several lauded the President for naming the officials and agreed that the drug problem in Iloilo has become prevalent.

“Truth hurts. Congratulations Mr. President. People of the Philippines should know,” said Bebot Donesa in a post at the Facebook page of radio station Aksyon Radyo Iloilo.
Others, however, disagreed.

“There are two sides of a coin. (This could be true. This could also be in retaliation for getting small votes in Western Visayas),’ said Rodel Ola.

Western Visayas was a bailwick of defeated presidential candidate and former Interior Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas.  SFM

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