We’re not ‘narcopols,’ mayors say
Several mayors who were stripped of their power to supervise local police forces over their alleged links to the illegal drug trade denied that they were narcopoliticians, with some asking the government to conduct another investigation.
In Tarlac province, two mayors on Friday asked the National Police Commission and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency to review their information on local executives who were allegedly involved in the illegal drug trade.
Camiling Mayor Erlon Agustin said he was open to a reinvestigation to clear his name. He and Concepcion Mayor Andres Lacson asked Tarlac Gov. Susan Yap to reach out to authorities about the list.
“I am willing to open everything. They can check my bank account or do a lifestyle check. I have no record of any misdemeanor. I am not into drugs,” Agustin said.
Lacson said being included in a list of narcopoliticians was the “most painful accusation against me in my 22 years in politics.”
He received a copy of a resolution issued by the Department of the Interior and Local Government stripping him of power over the local police on Thursday.
“The resolution outright tagged us as being involved in illegal drugs. It was not even an allegation. It was direct accusation,” Lacson said.
Aside from Lacson and Agustin, the list cited Mayors Edgardo Pamintuan of Angeles City and Jefferson Khonghun of Subic town in Zambales province.
Pamintuan said this might have been an old list.
“President Duterte had told me he personally validated my name. And it’s not true,” said Pamintuan, citing a meeting he had with Mr. Duterte two weeks ago in Malacañang.
Pamintuan, who is national president of the League of Cities of the Philippines, said allegations linking him to illegal drugs were “baseless and devoid of any factual evidence.”
In Palawan province, El Nido Mayor Nieves Rosento and Bataraza Mayor Abraham Ibba said they were not subjected to any formal investigation and had no knowledge of the basis for their inclusion in the list.
“I don’t know how my name got into that list. I’m open to investigation … People know I live a simple life,” Rosento said.
Ibba said his inclusion in the list could have been influenced by his political opponents.
In Cebu province, Ronda Mayor Mariano Blanco III said he was shocked when he learned that he was included in the list.
“I have been serving the town for 22 years now, and my name was never besmirched until this issue came,” he said.
“My conscience is clear. They should have given me due process,” he added. —REPORTS FROM TONETTE OREJAS, MARIA ADELAIDA CALAYAG, REDEMPTO ANDA, AND ADOR VINCENT S. MAYOL
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