BULUAN, Maguindanao (MindaNews/25 June) – The list of persons involved in the illegal drugs trade in Maguindanao, including politicians, has been submitted to incoming President Rodrigo Duterte, Maguindanao Governor Esmael Mangudadatu said as he denied allegations posted on social media that he and his brothers are druglords.
He vowed legal action against individuals who used the social media to destroy his image.
At the press conference Friday after he and other elected officials took their oath of office before Judge Alexander Betoya of Regional Trial Court Branch 15, Mangudadatu said:
“In the list that I submitted to President Duterte there are local officials engaged in illegal activities in the province, but I can’t tell you how many but surely there are.”
At least 20 persons who are in the illegal drugs trade have sent surrender feelers to his office, he said.
In his speech at the mass oath-taking, Mangudadatu took exception to social media posts identifying him as one of the druglords in Maguindanao together with other officials including his brothers Khadaffy and Jong. Khaddafy is an Assemblyman at te Regional Legislative Assembly of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao while Jong is a businessman.
“I will not take this sitting down. Our legal team is working on it, there is a law against it and that is the cybercrime (prevention) law,” he said.
“I will not allow this to continue. Someone has to be held accountable, those who have posted comments in the social media have been known with the help of NBI (National Bureau of Investigation), they are our political adversaries,” he said.
Mangudadatu did not name anyone but his lawyer, Israelito Torreon, named a certain Bae Utto, believed to be a pseudonym, to be behind the campaign to discredit the governor by picturing him as a druglord.
Mangudadatu said about 90 percent of the inmates at the Maguindanao provincial jail are facing illegal drug charges, an indication on the extent of proliferation of illegal drugs in the province.
But as government’s campaign against prohibited drugs is now in full swing even as Duterte has yet to take his oath on June 30, Mangudadatu warned vigilante groups might take advantage of the campaign and put the law into their hands.
He said he favors death penalty for those involved in illegal drugs. “Death penalty is a strong deterrent against peddling, using and distributing illegal drugs in Saudi Arabia, China and even in Indonesia,” he said. (Ferdinandh Cabrera / MindaNews)