MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte is convinced that the Alcalas of Quezon are involved in drugs.
"'Yang sa Quezon kay Alcala, publicly sabihin ko sa'yo totoo 'yan," said Duterte on Tuesday, September 13, as he talked to Philippine Air Force troops at Villamor Air Base, Pasay City.
Cerilo "Athel" Alcala, the brother of former agriculture secretary and Quezon representative Proceso Alcala, surrendered to police last August, after being tagged as Quezon's top drug lord in a police drug watchlist.
Athel Alcala, however, denied being involved in the illegal drug trade.
But on Tuesday, Duterte said he is not letting the Alcalas off the hook. He said he would have to bide his time as the Alcalas are well-connected.
"Hayaan mo muna, sabi ko, para i-timing mo. Kasi kung malaman nila 'yon, wala kang makuha niyan because of their connections: mayor dito, governor. And to think na kung hindi ako nag-Presidente, hindi mo masita 'tong mga 'to," said Duterte.
(Let them be, I said, so I can time it well. Because if they find out too soon, we won't get anything out of them because of their connections: a mayor here, a governor. And to think if I didn't become President, you would never be able to discipline them.)
The Alcalas, a political clan in Quezon, count among its members Quezon Representative Vicente Alcala and Lucena Mayor Roderick Alcala. Former agriculture secretary Proceso Alcala is a close ally of former president Benigno Aquino III.
Duterte claimed that the Alcalas are able to scare off police despite a family member's alleged involvement in drugs.
"Mayor? Ay sus. Puro bodyguard, puro pulis, puro mga hoodlum. Eh pati 'yung pulis, takot," said Duterte.
(Mayor? They are surrounded by bodyguards, police, hoodlums. Even the police are scared.)
Rappler tried to get the side of the former agriculture chief but he has not replied as of posting.
Duterte said his announcement of supposed drug personalities and shoot-to-kill threats have made the Alcalas nervous. (READ: The Duterte list: Judges, mayors, police officials linked to drugs)
"Sabi ko sa kanila, nagmura ako, bigyan ko kayo 24 oras kundi patayin ko kayo. Ayun ang panahon na nakita natin tatakbo-takbo sila, pawis-pawis," he said in a tone of amusement.
(I told them, I cursed, "I'll give you 24 hours or else I will kill you." That's the time we saw them running around, sweating.)
Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at email@example.com.