Duterte cries foul over alleged links to Batangas mayor slay

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President Rodrigo Duterte. (FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 17) — President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday decried allegations tagging him in the killing of Tanauan City, Batangas Mayor Antonio Halili.

"Kagaya nung si Mayor Halili ng Tanauan, nag-ano siya Bayang Magiliw… Bog! Patay siya. Tapos ako ang pagbintangan. Unfair sila sa akin," Duterte told members of the Papua New Guinea Filipino community.

[Translation: Like Mayor Halili from Tanauan, he was just singing 'Bayang Magiliw', Bog. And he's dead. And they pin the blame on me. They're unfair to me.]

Duterte also said his kill threats addressed to local government officials are just empty ones.

"Wala akong alam. Ako, magsabi man lang ako "patayin kita" pero pantakot man lang 'yan, istorya man lang 'yan, maniwala ka pala?" he added.

[Translation:I don't know of anything. I will say "I will kill you" but it's just to threaten you. It's just made-up, but would you believe it?]

Halili, who was killed in July during a flag ceremony in the city hall's grounds, was considered by police as a high-value target for his alleged links to the illegal drug trade, together with four other mayors in Region IV-A.

The Tanauan mayor's slay was one in a series of local officials' killings this year, as the Duterte administration continues its fight against illegal drugs. But the Philippine National Police maintains that the killings are unrelated to the drug war and to each other.

READ: Albayalde says no pattern on killings of local officials