Duterte orders creation of task force to probe drug links

PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has ordered the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) to form a task force that will investigate the alleged drug link of Bacolod City Councilor Ricardo Tan.

This was confirmed on Tuesday, January 22, by PDEA-Negros Occidental head Jose Tomabini, who said that the provincial office is not part of the task force.

He said the task force will be comprised of the PDEA national office, adding they already started their investigation to determine if there is truth to the claims against Tan.

Tan has been identified by Duterte as a high-value target in his watchlist during his recent visit to Bacolod City.

The councilor was previously implicated in illegal drugs which he earlier denied.

He has not attended the regular session of the city council a week after he was ambushed, along with his wife in Barangay Alangilan on December 14. The couple was unharmed but their car was riddled with bullets.

The PDEA earlier said that the councilor is not under their watchlist.

Tan has yet to issue a comment regarding the accusation of Duterte.

Meanwhile, PDEA-Negros Occidental received two vehicles from the Association of Chief Executives in Negros Occidental led by its president, Victorias City Mayor Francis Frederick Palanca.

The turnover was held in Bacolod City with the presence of the town and city mayor, Negros Occidental Police Provincial Office head Senior Superintendent Romeo Baleros, and 303rd Infantry Brigade commander Colonel Benedict Arevalo.

Tomabini said the donation of two new vehicles can help them in their anti-drug operations and mobility.

“The vehicles will be used for our operational capability. Our office before just borrowed vehicles from PDEA- Central Visayas. Now that we have these vehicles, it can really help in the conduct of our anti-drug operations,” he said.

He said they conducted operations in San Carlos City for the two drug dens and in Barangay 2, Bacolod City where more than 50 grams of drugs were taken from the drug pushers there.

“Barangay 2 is a drug affected barangay but not seriously, with the absence of drug dens,” he said.

Illegal drugs thrived in slum areas because their target market are those living in slums, he said.

“The illegal drug problem in Negros Occidental is not that serious as compared to Cebu,” he said.


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