President Rodrigo Duterte admitted ordering the wiretapping of government officials he has accused of being “narco-politicians,” among them the late Ozamis City Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog, although he did not say whether these taps were covered by court orders as required by law.
The admission was made during Duterte’s visit, his fifth, to troops in Marawi City on Thursday, September 21.
It was also during this visit that he first bared a “drug matrix” of alleged “Maute supporters” that included the “Parojinog Drug Trade (Ozamiz City).” The late mayor was among 15 people killed in police raids in late July.
Duterte compared Parojinog to Iloilo City Mayor Jed Mabilog, who he has also accused of links to the narcotics trade but who, he said, he never tagged as a manufacturer but as a “protector No. 1.”
He also noted that Mabilog, who has gone on leave, is “out of the country because he’s afraid” of suffering the same fate as Parojinog.
“But Parojinog is different,” he said. “At least there is a semblance of an authority. He was a protector, but maybe also part of the gambling syndicate.”
And then he said of the late mayor: “I am sure whenever he was talking to anyone, I was listening to him.”
“Don’t ask me how I … what kind of listening device … It was a whisper from God and I was listening to him. So they were all tapped,” he said. “I was the one who ordered it.”
Asked whether he knew if Duterte had secured orders for the wiretaps, presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella replied: “I’m sure that being a lawyer, he was operating within bounds of legality.”