CEBU Archbishop Jose Palma urged President Rodrigo Duterte to conduct a thorough verification of the names of suspected drug protectors before releasing them to the public.
In an interview yesterday, Palma admitted that he was alarmed by the way Duterte released the names of politicians, policemen and judges who are allegedly involved in illegal drugs last Sunday.
Even though he praised Duterte’s bravery for revealing the names, Palma expressed fear that some of them may have been placed there without thorough verification.
“While we appreciate their efforts against drugs, we also question the process on how those names came to be or how they were verified,” Palma said.
He pointed out that some personalities on the list are dead.
Palma said he is also concerned that those on the list will lose face even though there are no charges filed against them.
“What if its not true? Kay nagawas naman ang ngalan, how could you redeem kung dili tinuod (Because they’ve been exposed, how do you take back the shame if it turns out they’re innocent)?” Palma asked.
He said the public might already presume that those on the list are guilty.
One of the names Duterte mentioned belongs to former Cebu City mayor Michael Rama.
Rama showed up at the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) in Manila last Monday to show he is ready to cooperate with authorities.
That, as Mayor Tomas Osmeña challenged Rama to undergo a lie detector test with him to see who is really coddling drug lords.
In a news conference he called at their ancestral house in Barangay Basak San Nicolas yesterday, Rama said talked to PDEA Director General Isidro Lapeña for an hour and 30 minutes.
He said he would’ve wanted to get hold of the documents linking him to the illegal drug trade but the agency was not able to produce these.
“I was telling them in gist and in conclusion that I am not into it. It (list) is incorrect...How can I be a drug protector? Who is the drug lord? Of course, they cannot give me the name. How can they even give the name they don’t even have the document?” he told reporters.
Asked why he decided to go to Lapeña instead of Philippine National Police Chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa like what other officials did, Rama said he was advised to do that.
Rama said he did not expect any definite outcome from his meeting with PDEA. “But as of now, I have already done my share,” he said. “I wish and I pray relief will come to me and the others,” he said.
Rama admitted he was hurt by Duterte’s announcement, saying he will meet with members of his family to discuss what steps they will take next.
Councilor Edu Rama Jr., Rama’s nephew, delivered a privilege speech before the City Council yesterday and questioned the list given to Duterte as it has many inconsistencies and errors, including some who were already dead.
“I have no doubt the list is tainted and above all, politically motivated. I believe some people moved heaven and earth to put his name on that list, people who have been trying to discredit him for years,” he said.
The councilor said they will fight this “injustice” with courage.
“We will emerge from this scarred from the battle but stronger as ever,” he added.
In a separate privilege speech, Councilor Sisinio Andales said the allegation made by the President cannot just be dismissed.
He said he does know why Rama was included on the list but there are things about the latter’s past that need to surface.
That includes Rama being friends with alleged drug lord Cresistomo “Tata Negro” Llaguno.
Andales also said that during Rama’s administration, the only operation against suspected drug lord Jeffrey “Jaguar” Diaz was a failed raid conducted by Supt. Romeo Santander, who is also on Duterte’s list of drug protectors.
He said he wants the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) to investigate Rama’s alleged involvement in the drug trade.
Andales moved that a copy of his speech be furnished to the DILG and the Office of the President.
In his Facebook page yesterday, Osmeña dared Rama to undergo a lie detector test with him. He also issued the same challenge to Santander.
He would want them to answer if they solicited money or accepted money from Jaguar or any drug lord.
“In the interest of transparency, I am willing to sacrifice my civil liberties and will submit to the test at the same time as him. If his conscience is clear like mine is, he will not hesitate. The Cebuanos have the right to know,” he added.
The mayor said he is ready to take the test when he arrives on Aug. 14. He is currently in the US for his annual medical checkup.
Asked about this, Rama said he doesn’t understand why Osmeña brought up the idea.
“Wala gyud ko kasabot nganong naabot na. Nganong kami man duha (Why both us)? Apila siya (Him too)? I have never been into lying. So wala ta ana (I’m not into that). Dili ta mahadlok ana (I’m not afraid),” he said.