PDEA chief Aaron Aquino: Narco politicians list came from task force

PDEA chief: Narco list came from task force

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PDEA chief: Narco list came from task force

Saturday, November 11, 2017

PAMPANGA. Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency Director Aaron Aquino. (SunStar Pampanga File Photo)

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.

READ: 25 'narco-politicians' stripped of police power

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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