ERMITA Barangay Captain Felicisimo “Emok” Rupinta denied reports that he is a narco-politician, saying his barangay has intensified campaigns against illegal drugs.

In a press conference yesterday, Rupinta said the anonymous complaint filed before the Office of the Ombudsman against him and three other Cebu City barangay captains about their being alleged drug protectors is baseless.

“I’m wondering why I was named a drug protector. They know how serious I am about fighting illegal drugs even during the campaign. I’ve always said that the police cannot do it alone. They need the help of the community and the barangay,” he told reporters in Cebuano.

Since becoming barangay captain of Ermita in 1997, Rupinta said he has exerted every effort to wipe out the problem of illegal drugs after the barangay topped the list of drug-infested areas.

Of the 12 sitios in Ermita, Rupinta said, Sitio Bato is the only place where illegal drugs are still sold.

All the others, including Kawit and Ermita Proper, where the selling of drugs was rampant, are drug-free, he said.

Rupinta said he wants one more month to rid Sitio Bato of the drug menace.

He said he is encouraging the four remaining suspected drug traders there to stop their illegal business.

The barangay captain earlier said the complaint was a piece of propaganda from Mayor Tomas Osmeña.

Rupinta is a member of the Team Rama.

No basis

Rupinta said the filing of the case is part of demolition job to remove him from his post.

The complaint came after the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency 7 filed charges against him after he allegedly did not cooperate when the latter conducted an anti-drug operation in the barangay last month.

He said his rivals want to destroy his reputation and image because they can’t defeat him during elections.

Osmeña, for his part, said the named barangay captains should just answer the allegations thrown at them.

“It’s a chance for them to prove themselves. But do I believe they’re involved in drugs? How can I not believe that? Kerwin himself said so,” he said.

The mayor was referring to the statement of Ronald “Kerwin” Espinosa Jr., who said he delivered drugs to Cebu, including Barangay Ermita.

Although Espinosa did not mention any barangay captains, the mayor said the former named the barangays.

“Who’s the barangay captain of Ermita? Why are they accusing me that I’m the one behind it? They’re the ones behind the drugs. That’s what I suspect,” Osmeña said.

Also, Osmeña said suspected drug lord Rowen “Yawa” Secretaria, who died in shootout with police in Banacon Island, Getafe in Bohol last May, was from Ermita.

However, Rupinta clarified that Secretaria did not directly conduct his illegal drug trade in Ermita since he transferred to Bohol after his release from jail.

“He was in prison because of robbery, not drugs, when he was a resident in the barangay. It was in jail that he learned about the illegal drug business and later on had his own illegal business upon release. But he did that in Bohol,” Rupinta said in Cebuano.