by Xave Gregorio
Senator Panfilo Lacson hit President Rodrigo Duterte Thursday (July 5) for linking slain Tanauan City Mayor Antonio Halili to drugs just hours after his fatal shooting.
Lacson said Duterte delivered the “cruelest eulogy” in saying that he has warned Halili, hailed by the Malacañang as an ally in the drug war, against being involved in drugs.
“That is the cruelest ‘eulogy’ that you can offer to any dead person,” the senator said at the weekly Kapihan sa Senado.
Duterte in a speech Monday evening said Halili, who was just assassinated during a city hall flag ceremony that morning, was only parading drug suspects as a front to cover up his links to the drug trade.
Halili’s name first figured in the “narco-list,” which led him to be stripped of his power over local police.
But Lacson defended the slain local executive, who is his longtime friend, saying Halili is not involved in drugs.
“He was not a saint nor an angel, that much I can say. Pero involvement sa drug, with the limited network that I also have, eh alam kong wala siyang involvement,” Lacson said.
However, the senator said he is not refuting the President’s statements about the supposed links of the slain mayor to drugs.
“Hindi rin matatawaran na ‘yung Pangulo is in receipt of vast resources na pwedeng mapagmulan ng information. Hindi mo matatawaran ‘yun dahil being the commander-in-chief, siya ‘yung repository ng lahat ng klaseng information,” Lacson said.
While he refutes Halili being involved in the illegal drugs trade, Lacson revealed that Halili was involved in illegal gambling.
Halili, however, never asked for special favors for him not to be put behind bars for allowing illegal numbers game jueteng in his locality, Lacson said.
He added that Duterte’s statements about killing drug suspects does not help with the situation, but refuses to directly link it with the killings, contrary to previous statements of opposition senators.
“At the very least, hindi nakatulong doon sa mga nangyaring pagpatay. Kung may direktamente o indirect na influence hindi natin pwedeng i-conclude,” Lacson said.