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Duterte denies ordering Tanauan mayor’s killing: ‘Pag sinabi kong patayin kita, panakot lang ‘yun!

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President Rodrigo Duterte has denied involvement in the death of Tanauan City, Batangas mayor Antonio Halili, who was shot dead during the flag raising ceremony at the capitol in July.

In a speech before the Filipino community in Papua New Guinea Friday (November 16), Duterte said it was “unfair” for people to link him to Halili’s death because he only made death threats against mayors who were allegedly involved in the illegal drug trade.

“Si Mayor Halili ng Tanauan, naga — nag-ano siya Bayang magiliw… Bog! Patay siya. Tapos ako ang pagbintangan. Unfair sila sa akin,” he said.

“Ito si Loot, nandoon si Loot noon eh. General Loot, sabi ko sa mga mayor — mayor na ang g*** eh. Sabi ko ikaw, pinangalanan ko. ‘Ikaw Loot, p****** i**** general- gen…” Siya ‘yung RD ng Visayas eh. Kaya ‘yan sila Odicta, Espinosa ‘yung malaki,” he said, referring to Daanbantayan, Cebu mayor Vicente Loot, whom he had accused of coddling drug lords.

Duterte said the death threats he made against politikos suspected of involvement in the illegal drug trade were only meant to scare them.

“Ako, magsabi man lang ako ‘patayin kita’ pero pantakot man lang ‘yan, istorya man lang ‘yan, maniwala ka pala? Kung sino ang nagpatay eh ‘yan mga pulis o tanungin mo, hindi ako,” he said.

In a July 2 speech, however, Duterte shared his suspicion that Halili may have been killed because of his alleged drug links.

“I received the news about Halili just now. I don’t know who killed him but I warned you not to… Never,” he said in Bisaya, adding that the mayor appeared to be no different from slain mayors such as Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa, Sr. and Ozamiz City, Misamis Occidental Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog, Sr., who were both linked to the illegal drug trade.