OFFICIALS in Mabalacat City, Pampanga, have vehemently denied that they are protectors of drug pushers.
Mayor Marino Morales, Vice Mayor Christian Halili and the 11 city councilors issued the statement during a press conference at City Hall Thursday, September 1, in reaction to the purported Facebook posts of businesswoman Pyra Lucas that the city officials are “protectors of illegal drugs [trade].”
The city officials at the same time belied Lucas’s accusations that they are involved in graft and corruption at City Hall.
In connection to these, Halili and the city councilors filed 58 counts (14 counts by Halili and four counts each by the councilors) of libel cases against Lucas, who lost in the mayoralty race during the last local elections.
Halili said Lucas’s baseless accusations have affected the integrity of the elected officials who are supposed to represent and serve the people of Mabalacat.
The eradication of illegal drugs is one of the priorities of the local officials, according to Halili.
“Matagal na po itong paninira sa amin ni Pyra Lucas. Kamukha po ni Presidente Duterte, ito rin pong illegal na droga ay aming nilalabanan. Kailangan po namin protektahan ang aming sarili bilang halal ng mga tao kung kaya nag-file na po kami ng kaso laban sa kanya (Pyra Lucas has long been trying to destroy our integrity. But just like President Duterte, we are also fighting illegal drugs. We filed the cases because we need to protect ourselves as elected officials),” Halili said.
The vice-mayor said the City Council recently passed a resolution declaring Lucas persona non grata or an unacceptable person in the city.
Morales, for his part, described Lucas's actions as politically motivated and baseless.
He said the local government officials are transparent and the financial records of the City Government are posted on the bulletin boards of the City Hall.
Morales appealed to President Duterte to revalidate the intelligence report that he is involved in the illegal drugs trade.
“I was never involved in illegal drugs. In fact, I am thankful to President Duterte that I was included in the list because I had a chance to clear myself. They can ask previous chiefs of police assigned in Mabalacat and they can attest that I am not a protector of illegal drugs,” Morales said.
He said the local government, through his initiative, has implemented anti-drugs campaign during his several terms as mayor.