THIRTY mayors in Negros Occidental, including Bacolod City, will meet with President Rodrigo Duterte this afternoon in Malacañang.
This was confirmed Tuesday by Victorias City Mayor Frederick Francis Palanca, president of Association of Chief Executives (ACE) in Negros, adding that only two mayors from the province may not be able to attend the gathering.
Duterte had summoned the mayors from all over the country to appear at
the Palace on Wednesday, January 11.
Palanca said that mayors coming from the Visayas, Mindanao and Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao will meet the President at 2 p.m. while mayors from Luzon and National Capital Region will meet him two hours later, at 4 p.m.
Palanca said they weren’t told about the agenda of the meeting though, he said, it may be about federalism, which is being pushed by the administration.
He said that Duterte always talked about the federal form of government when there’s a gathering.
It could also be about the terror group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), the mayor said, as he noted that the problem brought by ISIS is “bothering” the President.
Palanca said it could be a call for “loyalty check.”
He said it is usual for a president to ask the help of all the mayors, especially after the reports of a coup attempt that came out on December.
He added: “You can’t unseat a President who is 85 percent acceptable to the people. (He is) very popular.”
Palanca also said it could also be for the preparations for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) summits, which will be hosted by the Philippines this year.
“These are all the topics I could think of that the President may tackle,” the mayor added.
In a speech delivered at the Palace on Monday, Duterte revealed his plan to have an executive meeting with the mayors to show them his “thick” drug list.
Duterte said he would not hesitate to kill them, if he is able to prove that they are connected to illegal drug sale.
“I will call the mayor, lock them in. It will only be us and I will really tell them, ‘You know, I have a thick [drug list], find your name, mayor. Son of a b****, if your name is there, you have a problem, I will really kill you,” Duterte said.
“Either you resign or make a clean breast of everything, come up with a clean nose and we’ll talk... I tell you, do not fool me. I will deprive you of the supervisory powers over the police. Second, I will get rid of your security," he added.
Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said Duterte’s pronouncement against the mayors linked to drugs was merely his “messaging style to underline his intentions.”
“Again, it is to say matter of the leadership style and messaging style of the President. However, it’s just meant to underline his seriousness in making sure that nobody is corrupt and involved in criminalities,” the presidential spokesperson said in a chance interview. (With reports from Sunnex)
Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on January 11, 2017.
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