Veloso slams inclusion in ‘narcolist,’ says it’s politically motivated
MANILA, Philippines — Leyte 3rd District Rep. Vicente “Ching” Veloso has denied his alleged involvement in the illegal drug trade after President Rodrigo Duterte named him as one of the so-called “narco-politicians” in the country.
Veloso, who is seeking reelection under the National Unity Party, said his inclusion in the list was a sham and politically motivated by his rivals.
“Kalokohan ‘yan, pulitika ‘yan… Every time na may elections kami rito ang tunay na mga drug lords dito… inilalabas, nili-link ako,” the second-termer congressman told INQUIRER.net in a phone interview, adding that he would file a House resolution to investigate the matter.
(That’s ridiculous, that’s politics … Every time there is an election, we are the drug lords here, I am linked [to the drug trade])
Veloso was also tagged as a “protector” of alleged drug lord Kerwin Espinosa in the affidavit of the late Albuera mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr. in 2016, but the lawmaker also denied the accusation.
The former Court of Appeals associate justice vowed to resign if his involvement in the narcotics trade is proven. He even challenged Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Director General Oscar Albayalde and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Chief Director General Aaron Aquino to resign if they fail to prove his involvement.
“I challenge Albayalde, I challenge Aquino, and whoever was responsible for putting me in that list. If I am involved, magre-resign ako. On the other hand, if they cannot prove why they put me in that list dapat mag-resign din sila (they should also resign),” Veloso said.
Veloso, who is also House constitutional amendments committee chairman, also welcomed the move of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) to file administrative charges against the against the 46 politicians in the list for grave misconduct, conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service, conduct unbecoming of a public officer, and gross neglect of duty.
It would give me a chance to ask them, paano ako napunta run [sa list]?” Veloso said, noting that he also plans to file a suit before the Ombudsman “for undue injury.”
The other two congressmen tagged as alleged “narco politicians” were Zambales 1st District Rep. Jeffrey Khonghun, a reelectionist and a last-termer, and outgoing Pangasinan 1st District Rep. Jesus Celeste. INQUIRER.net has sent a message to Khonghun and Celeste for comment, but they have yet to respond as of posting time.
But Khonghun’s son and incumbent Subic town Mayor, Jay, already belied the claims that their family is involved in any drug-related activity during a Facebook live on Wednesday night. Jay, who is running for Zambales vice governor, also insinuated that the allegations could be part of a smear campaign.
“Pagdating po ng panahon at may lumabas po na listahan na ganyan, hindi po kami panghihinaan ng loob dahil alam naman po namin na ‘yun ay hindi totoo…” said Jay, who was with his partner, actress Aiko Melendez. /ee, gsg
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