"The challenge is good and I am accepting it," he told Davao-based reporters Wednesday afternoon.
He said he is duty-bound to give in to a demand for public information on the issue, citing the constitutional right of the public to information.
Mayors Talib Abo of Parang, Maguindanao and Tocao Mastura of Sultan Kudarat also in Maguindanao, reportedly sought an end to the guessing game, as it put all 28 mayors suspect.
Davao City police chief Catalino Cuy said on Oct. 6 that they had been monitoring the Maguindanao mayor's whereabouts but could not give a time frame as to when to identify him.
He said it might be unfair to the other mayors of the province of Maguindanao "but it would also be unfair to name the suspect without the evidence.”
Duterte, seated during the press conference between Cuy and Task Force Davao commander Eduardo del Rosario, said he is still weighing if there is a need for him to ask permission from the police who supplied the intelligence reports from which he based his pronouncements.
"If the public and the media will ask for it, then it is mandatory for me to divulge it," he said.
Duterte said the dare has given them a legal excuse to name the suspect. But he said he has to sift the information so as not to destroy the system or process of information used in intelligence reports. He said they need to filter the information they will make public so as not to compromise the sources of the information.
Duterte said he will explain to the public the "legalese" why it wasn't easy for them to identify the suspect amid an investigation seeking for evidence on the alleged drug trafficking report.
Earlier, Duterte and Cuy refused to name the mayor suspected to have delivered 3.5 kilos of methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu, to Davao using an ambulance allegedly with the two Davao City police escorts. Another report said it was a 35-kilo delivery. (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)