CLARK FREEPORT -- Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Director General Aaron Aquino has denied reports that the list of narco-politicians came from his agency.
Aquino’s office issued the statement in response to a news report that quoted Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) officer-in- charge Catalino Cuy as saying that the list came from PDEA.
“The statement of DILG’s Cuy is not true since the list of narco-politicians is a product of an inter-agency intelligence task force and not PDEA alone,” Aquino stated.
On December 2016, PDEA officially received the narco-politicians list of President Rodrigo Duterte from the Office of the President, according to Aquino.
Since then, PDEA has been updating the list on a monthly basis through the inter-agency validation task group composed of PDEA, Philippine National Police (PNP), Directorate for Intelligence, Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces and National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA).
The Inter-Agency Validation Task Force was created on January 2017 through a directive from the National Security Council.
The updated list is submitted to the Office of the President every month by PDEA, which is the inter-agency validation task force secretariat.
On September 2017, the DILG visited the PDEA office to compare Duterte’s list with the updated list prepared by the Inter-Agency Validation Task Force.
Aquino stressed that the narco-politicians list is classified as “SECRET.”
PDEA even expressed support to DILG’s move in stripping powers over police.
“Undeniably, illegal drugs have contaminated the bureaucracy. The data shows a continuous involvement of government officials and employees in the drug trade,” Aquino’s statement disclosed.
From 2011, PDEA arrested a total of 401 government officials involved in drugs.
A total of 10 elected officials –- one mayor, one barangay (village) chief and eight village council members -- were arrested since Aquino assumed office as PDEA chief.
The National Police Commission (Napolcom) earlier removed the power of a governor and 23 other mayors over the police in their respective areas for their alleged links to illegal drugs.
With this, Cuy ordered the withdrawal of deputation of four mayors in Central Luzon which includes Angeles, Pampanga Mayor Edgardo Pamintuan; Concepcion, Tarlac Mayor Andres Lacson; Subic, Zambales Mayor Jefferson Khonghun; and Camiling, Tarlac Mayor Erlon Agustin.
Also stripped of police powers were Zamboanga del Sur Governor Antonio Cerilles; Sinacaban, Misamis Oriental Mayor Crisinciano Mahilac; Lopez Jaena, Misamis Occidental Mayor Michael Gutierrez; Sapang Dalaga, Misamis Occidental Mayor Donjie Animas; Oroquieta City, Misamis Occidental Mayor Jason Almonte; Concepcion , Misamis Occidental Mayor Juanidy Viña; Calamba, Misamis Occidental Mayor Ezel Villanueva; Santo Niño, South Cotabato Mayor Pablo Matinong Jr.; Libungan, North Cotabato Mayor Christopher Cuan; Banga, South Cotabato Mayor Albert Palencia; Midsalip, Zamboanga del Sur Mayor Leonida Angcap; and Pasuquin, Ilocos Norte Mayor Ferdinand Aguinaldo.
The list also includes Lemery, Batangas Mayor Eulalio M. Alilio; Teresa, Rizal Mayor Raul Palino; Tanauan City, Batangas Mayor Antonio Halili; Rodriguez, Rizal Mayor Cecilio Hernandez; San Pablo City, Laguna Mayor Loreto Amante; Ronda, Cebu Mayor Mariano Blanco; El Nido, Palawan Mayor Niever Cabunalda-Rosento; and Bataraza, Palawan Mayor Abraham Ibba.
Published in the SunStar Pampanga newspaper on November 11, 2017.
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