Repent, resign or die. Which mayor would?
EETING with mayors from Visayas
Wednesday, President Duterte was in a foul mood, news reports said.
Not surprising as there are still mayors in his “narco-list” whom police have to arrest and charge.
Nothing riles up Duterte more than those who are into drugs such as merchants, coddlers and users and those who criticize the killings in his “drug war.” Duterte “cursed” and “threatened” the mayors although it’s not known who winced. Intimate meeting Was it an “intimate” meeting, as Press Secretary Martin Andana described it? Depends on whether one’s sense of intimacy includes rough verbal stuff. It was private (closed-door) and personal (lifethreatening, so to speak).
The options for a mayor who’s into drugs are all unpalatable. Repent and resign? Repent maybe but in private. Public remorse would open him to prosecution and end his political career. Being killed is worse but it’s a risk a shrewd mayor might prefer, knowing they couldn’t nail him down by evidence.
He has seen many drug suspects who were threatened but are still alive and aren’t even arrested or charged for lack of evidence. Many were publicly shamed by Duterte, including Cebu town mayor and former police general Vic Loot, and yet are still standing, no strand of hair touched. A mayor from Leyte was executed in his jail cell not because he was a drug coddler but police whose careers were endangered had to silence him.
Threat of death could be less intimidating than public acceptance of a crime. A town mayor compelled to repent and resign wouldn’t be unlike a thief forced to march in the public plaza with an “I am a thief” cardboard on his neck. “I will kill you” And “I will kill you” repeatedly said could soon lose its strength to strike fear in the heart, even if it comes from the most powerful public official in the country. An expletive frequently expelled might shed off its venom and sting.
A mayor who profited from the drug trade would prefer taking his chance in surviving a kill threat to public humiliation in owning up a crime.