Officials on Duterte narcolist win; others didn’t run
Several politicians in Luzon and the Visayas won in last Monday’s elections despite their inclusion in the narcolist exposed by President Rodrigo Duterte.
But two local officials in Cebu province, who were also linked to illegal drugs, decided to let go of their positions and stay away from the limelight.
In Iloilo province, Mayor Siegfredo Betita of Carles town was reelected with 15,474 votes, defeating his closest rival Merle Tupas who got 14,368 votes.
Mayor Julius Ronald Pacificador of Hamtic town in Antique won as vice mayor with 15,883 votes against closest rival Noel Seguera who got 4,978 votes.
Rep. Vicente Veloso of Leyte’s third district also won his reelection bid despite being linked by the President to illegal drugs.
Veloso, a retired associate justice of the Court of Appeals, got 53,581 votes or higher by 10,569 votes against his rival, former Rep. Andy Salvacion.
Betita, Pacificador and Veloso had denied any involvement in illegal drugs.
In Zambales province, outgoing Subic Mayor Jefferson “Jay” Khonghun won over his lone rival, reelectionist Vice Gov. Angel Magsaysay-Cheng, by 89,038 votes.
Khonghun’s father, Jeffrey, was reelected as representative of the first congressional district of Zambales, beating his two opponents, including former Rep. Milagros Magsaysay.
The Khonghuns, who had previously denied allegations they were in any way connected to illegal drugs, were proclaimed on Tuesday.
Another politician in the narcolist, incumbent Mayor Ferdinand Aguinaldo of Pasuquin, Ilocos Norte, was also reelected.
In Cebu province, two officials linked to illegal drugs opted not to run for public office.
Both Mayor Vicente Loot of Daanbantayan town and San Fernando Vice Mayor Fralz Sabalones were not seen in their respective towns during Monday’s elections.
Members of the San Fernando town council said Sabalones’ leave of absence, from March to June, was approved by Mayor Lakambini Reluya.
Sabalones’ brother, confessed drug lord Franz Sabalones, was killed in Manila early this year.
A source from Daanbantayan town said Loot, a retired police general, had not reported to his office in Daanbantayan since August 2018 after the President accused him of being involved in illegal drugs.
His stepson, Board Member Sun Shimura, ran and won as mayor of Daanbantayan.
Police Brig. Gen. Debold Sinas, director of the Central Visayas police, said Loot and Sabalones had not been seen in their towns after the announcement of the second narcolist in March.
“But we are still monitoring them,” said Sinas in a press conference on Wednesday.
Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama, who was included in the first narcolist released by Mr. Duterte in 2016, won in the vice mayoral race in the city.
Rama was eventually cleared of involvement in the drug trade. His candidacy was endorsed by the President.
—Reports from Nestle Semilla, Nestor Burgos Jr., Joey Gabieta, Joanna Rose Aglibot and Leilanie Adriano
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