Ties of barangay execs to drug lords checked-A A +A
Friday, October 4, 2013
THREE weeks before the barangay elections, police officials revealed that they are investigating officials of three barangays in Cebu for their reported involvement in narco-politics.
During the Talakayan Sa Isyung Pulis (Tsip) forum yesterday, Supt. Pablo Labra II of the Police Regional Office (PRO) 7 said a big-time drug pusher is reportedly supporting a barangay official in Cebu City.
In the Province, Cebu Provincial Police Office (CPPO) Director Noel Gillamac said they are monitoring officials of two barangays who could be involved in the distribution of illegal drugs and tolerating illegal gambling to raise funds for their campaign for the Oct. 28 elections.
Labra and Gillamac refused to name the officials involved as they are still verifying the information.
Narco-politics happens when a public official protects a drug syndicate or group in exchange for financial support.
While Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama was mum on the barangays that are considered hotly contested areas, former congressman and former mayor Tomas Osmeña openly named these villages.
Osmeña said the barangays are hotly contested barangays because of narcopolitics.
Most of these barangays, Osmeña said, are in the south district, including Calamba, Labangon, Day-As, Ermita, Pasil, Duljo Fatima, Sawang Calero and Suba.
Some are considered hotly contested because of the intense rivalry. He mentioned Basak San Nicolas, Inayawan, Lahug and Sambag I.
But in a separate interview yesterday, Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) Chief Noli Romana said he has not received reports of barangays tainted with narcopolitics.
He was asked about reports that some candidates enjoy the support of drug lords, but Romana said there is no official list of candidates yet since the filing of the certificates of candidacy has not started.
Earlier, the CCPO reported that nine barangays in Cebu City are considered areas of concern. Of the number, three are mountain barangays and the rest are urban barangays.
The bases for citing barangays under areas of concern are history of violence and
intense political rivalry, Romana said.
Osmeña said narcopolitics has reached the mountain barangays because motorcycle-for-hire drivers are used as drug runners.
At the forum yesterday, police officials revealed that 809 of the 3,003 barangays in Central Visayas continue to have drug trafficking activities.
Labra, acting chief of the Regional Intelligence Division (RID), said though that there are no drug lords in the region, only big-time pushers who are said to receive seven kilos of shabu every week.
“There are no manufacturers, only retailers,” he said.
Two of these drug pushers are in Cebu, whose operation reaches Dumaguete City in Negros Oriental and Ormoc City in Leyte.
According to a report from PRO 7, there is drug trafficking in 74 of 80 barangays in Cebu City. In the province, drug traffickers operate in 159 out of 1,066 barangays.
All 27 barangays in Mandaue City reportedly have drug trafficking activities while 20 out of 30 barangays in Lapu-Lapu City are affected by the menace.
Drug trafficking was also reported in 384 out of 1,109 barangays in Bohol; 120 out of 557 barangays in Negros Oreintal; and 25 out of 234 barangays in Siquijor.
Senior Insp. Henrix Bancoleta of the Regional Anti-Illegal Drugs Special Operations Task Group (Raidsotg) of PRO 7 said 73% or 2,194 barangays in the region continues to be drug-free.
“Because of our series of operations, the number of affected barangays has decreased compared to last year,” he said.
Bancoleta said the barangays are classified into three: drug-unaffected, drug-affected and drug-cleared.
Drug-unaffected barangays are those villages that have never been beset by any illegal drug activity.
The drug-affected areas refer to places where there are drug users, pushers, manufactures and marijuana cultivators.
The barangays that have been subjected to drug clearing operations and left with no trace of illegal activity are considered drug-free.
From January to September this year, Bancoleta said they have arrested 1,361 persons, which is higher than the 982 arrested in the same period last year.
The police also conducted more anti-drug operations this year compared to the same
period last year, from 926 to 1,085.
They also filed more cases, 1,222 cases compared to last year’s 1,059.
With these figures, Bancoleta said they have intensified their operations against high-level drug personalities to wipe out drug trafficking.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 04, 2013.