More politicians on narcolist–PDEA
BIÑAN CITY—The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) has been checking the involvement of more mayors and other local officials in Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon) in the illegal drug trade.
Archie Grande, PDEA regional director, on Monday said the validation of the list of so-called narcopoliticians was “continuing,” even after the National Police Commission (Napolcom) had already named 23 mayors and a governor last month.
“I could not give an exact figure … but more than five,” Grande said when asked how many more names remained to be validated in Calabarzon.
The Napolcom earlier issued a resolution that stripped local officials of their power and supervision over local police forces due to their alleged involvement in the illegal drug trade.
In Calabarzon, the list included Mayors Eulalio Alilio (Lemery town, Batangas province), Raul Palino (Teresa town in Rizal province), Antonio Halili (Tanauan City, Batangas), Cecilio Hernandez (Rodriguez town, Rizal) and Loreto Amante (San Pablo City, Laguna province).
The officials denied the accusation and asked the Napolcom to review its list.
In Tanauan City, residents joined a “walk of truth” last week to show support for Halili, the city government said.
The PDEA, however, distanced itself from the Napolcom list, saying it did not come from the PDEA alone.
“The list is a product of an interagency validation task force (wherein) PDEA is only a member,” Grande said on Monday at the opening of PDEA Laguna provincial office here.
Last month, President Duterte designated PDEA as the lead agency in the government’s war on drugs. But the President recently threatened to hand the task back to the Philippine National Police should he see the campaign failing.
“We’re doing our best (but) we could do more if we are provided with more support, financially and logistically,” Grande said.
At the same event, PDEA Deputy Director General John Sosito admitted the agency’s shortage in manpower, but said they were hoping to recruit more agents by next year.
PNP chief, Director General Ronald dela Rosa, in an earlier interview, said PDEA had only about 1,700 agents while the PNP had 185,000 in its work force.
Sosito said they would need the support of local governments since the antidrug campaign was not only a matter of enforcing the law but also about the rehabilitation and reintegration of drug users to society. —MARICAR CINCO
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