CEBU CITY — Mayor Mariano Blanco III of Ronda town was dumbfounded when he received a report from the National Police Commission (Napolcom) that he was allegedly involved in the illegal drugs trade.
“I’m really shocked. I have been serving the town for 22 years now, and my name was never besmirched until this issue came,” he said in a phone interview on Wednesday.
“My conscience is clear. I don’t know how my name got there. They should have given me due process of law. I’m never involved in illegal drugs,” he said.
In an en banc resolution, Napolcom stripped Blanco off his power over the police in Ronda for his alleged involvement in the illegal drugs trade.
With the order, Blanco could no longer choose the town’s chief of police, inspect police forces and units, and exercise other functions over the local police.
In August 2016, the Napolcom also took away the authority of Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña over the police in response to the mayor’s decision to withdraw support for the Cebu City Police Office (CCPO).
Osmeña’s authority over the CCPO was reinstated a month after.
Napolcom spokesman Risty Sibay said only President Rodrigo Duterte could reinstate the mayor’s authority over the police in Ronda town.
He said Duterte had received “intelligence reports” that Blanco was involved in the illegal drugs trade.
“That was used as basis by the Napolcom en banc to strip him off his power over the local police,” Sibay said.
Blanco said he was worried about his safety after his name was dragged into the illegal drugs trade.
“I’m afraid I might be assassinated. I just hope that they will understand that I am never involved in illegal drugs,” the 58-year-old mayor said.
Although he was stripped off his authority over the local police, Blanco said he would continue to support and provide for the needs of the town’s policemen.
“I will continue to support them,” he said.
Blanco served as councilor of Ronda in 1995 before he was elected mayor in 1998. He held the position for nine years. In 2007, he ran and won as vice mayor.
In 2010, Blanco was reelected as mayor of Ronda. He won reelection in 2013 and 2016 under the Liberal Party. /atm