City Council to probe 3 village chiefs with drug lord relatives

THE Iloilo City Council is set to invite at least three village chiefs whose close relatives were identified by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and the police as high value drug personalities operating in the city and nearby provinces in Panay Island to a fact finding investigation.

A resolution sponsored by City Councilor Plaridel Nava was unanimously approved by the local council to invite the presence of village chiefs Keith Espinosa of Monica Blumentritt city proper, Remia Provendido Gregori of Bakhaw, Mandurriao, and Noemi Hablo of Desamparados, Jaro, all in Iloilo City, to shed light on the proliferation of illegal drugs particularly methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu, in their respective villages.

The fact finding investigation is a gathering of information to be conducted by the committee on police matters chaired by City Councilor Jeffrey Ganzon and committee on barangay affairs chaired by Liga Chief, City Councilor Reyland Hervias.

Ganzon was asking for a verified complaint from the accuser which Nava obliged to submit, for the committee to conduct the investigation next week.

Enforcement agencies like the PDEA, police, and Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) are also to be invited in the City Council fact finding investigation.

Espinosa is the wife of Jesus “Jingjing” Espinosa, a barangay kagawad of the same barangay and considered as rank number 2 illegal drug trafficker.

Jingjing, a close associate of slain drug lord Melvin Odicta, surrendered to the police last week after a warrant of arrest was issued against him for a frustrated murder case committed 12 years ago.

Espinosa’s house was also raided that yielded a number of firearms and ammunitions and seven sachets of shabu.

Gregori is a sister of elusive drug lord Richard Prevendido and several of her relatives were identified as drug personalities including the son of Richard who was caught by the police in a drug bust.

Hablo is implicated as her husband Rusty Hablo is considered a high value target who did not surrender to Project Tokhang. Two of their sons were also bagged by the police last week for selling shabu to a police poseur buyer.

Nava wanted to know if these village chiefs also included the names of their relatives in the month report to the Barangay Anti-Drug Abuse Council and to the city DILG office.

If found that these village chiefs have not included the names of their relatives, Nava said they will face charges on covering up the crimes of their relatives, dereliction of duty, gross dishonesty, negligence, and incompetence.
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