Village chief belies PDEA claim

CAGAYAN de Oro’s embattled chairman of Barangay 23 Jaime Joshua Frias II accused the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA)-Northern Mindanao of spreading lies for asserting he has done nothing to address the illegal drug problem in his village.

Undaunted, Frias came to his defense when PDEA-Northern Mindanao chief Wilkins Villanueva insisted that the youthful village chair literally did nothing to help them when they raided a drug den in Barangay 23 in 2015.

Villanueva claimed responsibility of the operation where more than 20 drug suspects were arrested and more than a million worth of prohibited drugs were confiscated.

But, Frias said it was him who personally requested the anti-narcotics agents to make a drastic move in dismantling the drug den in his small barangay.

"The PDEA-10 director has a big mouth. Ako ang nagpatawag ato para ma-raid," Frias said.

A staunch supporter of President Duterte’s war on drugs, Frias recalled that he went to the PDEA-Northern Mindanao office thrice to get assurance that his barangay be cleared from illegal drug activities.

"Wala siya (Villanueva) kabalo nga katulo ko nagbalik-balik sa buhatan sa PDEA para mohangyo og kalooy sa usa ka agent diha nga naduso gyud akong mulo."

Frias said he even joined and witnessed the said operation being head of the village.

A file photo of this paper showed that Frias was present during the operation along with veteran journalist Joey Nacalaban.

"Mao na iyang giingon nga wala koy gibuhat? Bakakon ang PDEA," Frias said.

The “word war” between the two began when the agency tagged Barangay 23 among the top five seriously affected villages in the city by illegal drugs.

Frias said to include his small barangay on the top five list is also a big insult to PDEA-Northern Mindanao in the sense that two of its personnel are residents themselves of said barangay.

"Moingon sila apil mi sa top 5 sagpa pud na sa ila kay naay agent diha ug personnel sa PDEA gapuyo unsa man ilang gihimo pud," Frias said.

The last-termer village chief also argued that he did not ignore those drug dependents who came forward to seek reformation through the rehabilitation program.

Frias said the Police Station 5 opted to cluster villages which only have less than 10 drug surrenderees.

"Kay 4 ra man ako akong gi-refer sa police station ug sa barangay Macabalan nga dunay community-based rehab progam,"Frias said.

"Ang gibuhat sa police station gi-cluster tanan katong dili kaabot sa 10 kay para maka-save,"he added.

Although Barangay 23 has no Community-based Rehabilitation Program (CBRP), Frias said they’ve been continuously supporting the drug dependents that they refer to the police and other barangay.

Frias also explained that he was participating in other equally important matters when he failed to attend meetings of the Barangay Anti-drug Abuse Council.

"Ang trabaho sa kapitan dili lang sa pagbatok sa droga apan sa kinatibuk-ang kaayuhan sa barangay," Frias said.


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