A GOVERNMENT official is calling on the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) to name the six politicians allegedly involved in narco-politics in Northern Mindanao.
Mandangan Darimbang, regional director of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTRFB) in Northern Mindanao, issued the call after some reports pointed to him as an alleged drug lord.
“The DDB should name those politicians especially now that the election is fast approaching, so that the people would be warned and wouldn’t vote for them,” Darimbang said in an interview over Bombo Radyo Thursday evening.
Earlier, reports had it that Darimbang is an alleged drug lord but he quickly denied it, saying it might be the handiworks of some political camps who are out to discredit him and his wife Candy, who is running for Congress in the first district of Cagayan de Oro.
In the radio interview, Darimbang said he had read this paper’s earlier report on the six politicians involved in narco-politics but said he is not one of them.
“I am not a politician so I am definitely not one of them,” he said.
Undersecretary Clarence Oaminal of DDB said Friday they could not divulge the names of the politicians involved in narco-politics funds unless they are directly facing charges.
Oaminal said their findings were based on community investigation and interviews in which the people themselves provided them with the information about certain politicians, particularly local officials, who are involved in narco-politics.
“If ever we reveal the names of those politicians, what is the assurance they can give to our agents especially since these personalities are not yet facing charges?” Oaminal told Sun.Star Cagayan.
According to him, one of the agents of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) is facing libel charges after revealing the identity of a politician involved in the illicit narcotics funds even if charges were not yet filed against the politician.
With this, Oaminal called on those who challenged the DDB to conduct their own community investigation for them to know who these local officials are.
“The people in the community know more who these politicians are without waiting for the DDB to come out with the list,” Oaminal said.
Earlier, the DDB said at least six politicians in Northern Mindanao are being suspected to have links with the illegal drugs trade.
Oaminal said the officials are likely getting funds from drug lords to finance their respective campaigns, and that their involvement in illicit narcotics varies.
He categorized this type of involvement into three -- When a local official is directly involve in illegal drugs; when a local official intervenes in behalf of the arrested suspects or raids conducted by authorities; and when people close to a local official is involved in illegal drugs.
The DDB’s report came after the US State Department identified Northern Mindanao as one of three areas in the Philippines where illegal drugs are being trafficked, which may affect the outcome of the May 10 national and local elections.
Based on the 2010 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report released in Washington, the US State Department said the value of trafficked drugs in the country was estimated at between $6.4 billion to $8.4 billion annually. Aside from Northern Mindanao, the other areas identified in the report are Cebu and Metro Manila.
The report came over a month after this paper reported a random drug test conducted by the Department of Education, Department of Health, and DDB showing Northern Mindanao as having the most students with positive results of drug use.