58 of 159 persons on blacklist surrender
MORE denials and surrenders came a day after President Duterte implicated mayors, police officers, judges and lawmakers to illegal drugs.
On Monday, 27 mayors and 31 police officers went to the Philippine National Police headquarters at Camp Crame in Quezon City to clear their names, fearing the President’s order to hunt them down if they failed to surrender within 24 hours.
Several local officials reported to regional police offices to beat the deadline set by Mr. Duterte. On Sunday, he identified about 159 officials in a name-and-shame campaign.
“I want to change,” a Cebu-based businessman tagged as a top-level drug trafficker told reporters after he met PNP Director General Ronald dela Rosa.
Vicente Amante, the former mayor of San Pablo City in Laguna province, and Ryan Dolor, the mayor of Bauan town in Batangas province, also went to Camp Crame early Monday to meet with Dela Rosa.
In an e-mailed statement on Sunday, Amante denied involvement in the illegal drug trade.
In Palawan province, former El Nido Vice Mayor Edgardo Trinidad surrendered to the provincial police on Sunday night.
On Monday, Supt. Roade Tumbaga, Palawan provincial police director, said Trinidad turned himself in to answer accusations about his links to the drug trade and for fear of his safety.
Tumbaga said the local police confiscated from Trinidad a licensed rifle, in compliance with the President’s order canceling the gun licenses of people on the list.
But Tumbaga said police had no evidence to hold Trinidad in custody, noting that the former vice mayor is not on the provincial police’s own list of suspects in the illegal drug trade.
Trinidad owns Resort Bayview Hotel, a high-end tourist accommodation on the outskirts of El Nido town.
In Albay province, a former jail guard and his nephew, who were on the President’s list, appeared at the PNP’s Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) regional office in Legazpi City.
Reynante Dayto, 41, a former jail officer of Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, and his nephew, Raymart, 31, sought to clear their names.
“We were shocked… that we were tagged [as involved in illegal drugs], together with big-time personalities and politicians,” Dayto said. “We firmly deny the allegations that we are financiers of [the] illegal drug trade in Bicol.”
Raymart, however, admitted that he used to be engaged in small transactions of illegal drugs but decided to quit and reform for his family’s sake.
Senior Supt. Marlon Tejada, CIDG-Bicol chief, said Dayto was not on their watch list of people suspected of involvement in illegal drugs.
In Eastern Samar, residents of General MacArthur town came to the defense of the family of Judge Roberto Navidad, who was on the list of alleged drug protectors read by Mr. Duterte even if he was killed eight years ago.
“We are hoping that his soul and his family will not be traumatized from this ludicrous accusation [as they] are still seeking justice for his untimely death,” said a statement posted on an unofficial Facebook page of General MacArthur Eastern Samar.
The statement said the General MacArthur community was hoping that the baseless accusation was just a result of misinformation provided to the administration, which should have been validated and verified.
“It is the right of every person, who is being accused of any crime, to answer and air his explanation as part of the country’s justice system,” it added.
Navidad, a native of General MacArthur town who once served as its mayor, was killed by a lone gunman in Calbayog City on Jan. 15, 2008. At that time, Navidad was presiding judge of the Regional Trial Court Branch 32.
Eight years after his death, the gunman and the mastermind remain unidentified.
Relatives of the judge were shocked on Sunday when Mr. Duterte named Navidad as a drug protector.
“That is a big lie. The reason why he was shot to death was because he fought with the drug lords in Calbayog City,” said his nephew, Elias Navidad Acosta, who works as court sheriff at the Regional Trial Court Branch 7 based in the city, in a text message.
“He was my uncle. I know him from head to foot. He was not a drug protector. He was a drug eliminator or a drug buster. That is why he was shot dead by these syndicates,” Acosta said.
His family now lives in the United States.
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