Antique town mayor in ‘narcolist’ says politics behind his inclusion
ILOILO CITY, Philippines –“Why am I being subjected to this injustice? If they have proof, why don’t they file a criminal complaint?”
This was the reaction of Vice Mayor Ariel Alagos of Culasi town in Antique after he was included in so-called list of alleged “narco-politicians.”
“I do not know why my name is there. You can ask people here, except my political rivals, and they will vouch that I have no involvement in illegal drugs,” Alagos told the INQUIRER.
Alagos, who is in his third term as vice mayor, is running for mayor on the May 13 elections under the National Unity Party.
He said politics could be behind the inclusion of his name in the list.
He admitted that a younger brother was subjected to “Oplan Tokhang,” a campaign where policemen visit the homes of drug personalities and ask them to surrender.
“I do not have any involvement in drugs. I’m a civil engineer from humble beginnings who became a construction contractor and dealer of beverages,” Alagos told the INQUIRER in Hiligaynon.
Alagos is among five officials from Western Visayas included in the list which was revealed by President Rodrigo Duterte.
The four others were already named by the President in August 2016 and have repeatedly denied involvement in illegal drugs.
These were former mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog (Iloilo City), Mayors Salagunting Betita (Carles, Iloilo), Mariano Malones (Maasin, Iloilo) and Julius Pacificador (Hamtic, Antique).
Mabilog and his family left the country in August 2017 and have not returned due to security concerns.
The Ombudsman ordered Mabilog’s dismissal from service in October 2017 over unexplained wealth.
But no drug-related case has been filed against him and the three other mayors nearly three years after they were tagged by the President.
Malones is one of two Iloilo mayors included in the 2016 list who joined the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino–Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban).
Mayor Alex Centena of Calinog town in Iloilo also joined the PDP-Laban and is not included in the latest list.
In January 2018, then Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said that the two mayors were “cleared” from the drug list before they joined the ruling party.
In July 2017, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency declared Maasin town in Iloilo as “drug-free.”
The Dangerous Drugs Board considers villages as drug-free if the supply of illegal drugs, transit or transshipment activities, drug laboratories and warehouses, drug dens, marijuana cultivation sites, users and pushers, drug protectors, coddlers and financiers are absent. /muf
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