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‘Di inasahan: Bacolod mayor Leonardia thanks Duterte for narco list clarification

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Mayor Evelio Leonardia has thanked President Rodrigo R. Duterte for clarifying that he is not included on the narco-list of politicians and for endorsing his reelection bid in the May 13 elections.

The mayor issued the statement Friday, a day after the President released a video message on his Facebook page, dismissing the claim of Leonardia’s predecessor, Monico Puentevella, that the incumbent mayor is involved in the illegal drug trade.

“I am truly humbled by the President’s gesture. This was unexpected but truly welcome,” he said.

Leonardia pointed out that the Chief Executive “did not only deny Puentevella’s dirty tactic” but “also endorsed my candidacy,” saying “I was the better choice for Bacolod mayor.”

In the video message, Duterte said it is not true that he named Leonardia as one of the mayors involved in the illegal drug trade when he called him during his speech at the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino – Lakas ng Bayan senatorial campaign rally in Victorias City, Negros Occidental last March 8.

He also admonished the former mayor, who is seeking a comeback as congressman, for “purposely and intentionally” twisting his words and using it against his political opponent.

“You used my name. My speeches were spliced then you padded and mixed it. You made it appear that I mentioned Mayor Leonardia at the end. That’s wrong,” the President told Puentevella.

Leonardia said the Chief Executive’s statement of support is a vindication for him.

“Now, the President himself has vindicated me. There is no better proof of Puentevella’s genius and unconscionable expertise at distorting facts than this,” the mayor said.

“Thank you, Mr. President. By this single gesture, you have unmasked Puentevella and his deceptions. I and my family will forever be grateful,” he added.

Leonardia earlier said the President met with him and his Grupo Progreso partymates, including Rep. Greg Gasataya and Vice Mayor El Cid Familiaran, after the campaign rally in Victorias City.

“We were the only ones who were called to meet with him,” the mayor revealed. (PNA)