- “Duterte of Batangas” Tanauan Mayor Anthony Halili targeted by PNP anti-drug drive
- He expressed surprised at his inclusion in drug watchlist
- He laughed it off, said inclusion was a ploy by his political foes
BATANGAS, Philippines – A mayor who earned the nickname “Duterte of Batangas” for publicly parading drug suspects in his city was surprised to learn that he had been included in the PNP’s ‘Oplan Tokhang’ watchlist of drug personalities.
According to Tanauan Mayor Anthony Halili, he was visited by city police chief Supt. Robert Baesa in his office last week and told to reveal information about the names of known drug suspects in his area.
Halili said Baesa even told him to sign a document with the names of surrendering drug suspects. However, he refused and laughed it off.
“Nabigla at napatawa ako, ‘ano to? Bakit may ganito?'” he told ABS-CBN. “Bawal nga ang aregluhan sa Tanauan dahil ayokong may aregluhan. Kaya nga dito, basta may kasalanan ka, magdusa ka.”
[I was surprised and ended up laughing. I asked what this is, and why is this being done? Fixing is prohibited here in Tanauan because I don’t condone it. Here, if you have done a wrong, then you must pay.]
Halili added he suspects his enemies may be using the police to harass him.
“Kung hindi nila ako tinalo sa pulitika, tatalunin nila ako using the police. Ako na talagang lumalaban sa drugs,” he said.
[If they weren’t able to beat me in politics, then they’ll try to beat me using the police. I really am fighting against drugs.]
Halili, a vocal supporter of President Rodrigo Duterte’s campaign against drugs, achieved notoriety after parading drug suspects in two events—“Flores de Pusher” and “June Bride and Groom”.
He also organized the Mayor’s Anti-Crime Group composed of civilians who help the police fight crime.