Ex-CIDG chief Magalong squeals on top ranking police official involved in illegal drugs

Marje Pelayo   •   September 20, 2019   •   1552

Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong

MANILA, Philippines — Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong has given the lawmakers an important information regarding the issue on illegal drug recycling in the country.

The former chief of the Philippine National Police Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) has named one top ranking police official who he claims is involved in such unlawful practice.

“Noong iniimbestigahan ko iyan, may mga officials na nakita namin, (When we were investigating that issue, we discovered some officials involved) one way or the other, they have some involvement sa mga drug trade,” Magalong said.

When asked how high ranking the involved officials are, Magalong waved his hands and said they are still “in active service.”

According to Senate Blue Ribbon Committee Chair Richard Gordon, he knew of the officials Magalong was referring to.

When asked about their positions in police service, Gordon touched his face with four fingers in response and agreed that the information was indeed alarming.

Senator Richard Gordon’s response when asked about the rank of the police official being linked to illegal drug recycling

Ako (ay) nagulat. Nagtinginan nga kaming tatlo (at nasabi) ‘Grabe naman ito’ (I was stunned. My colleagues and I were surprised. We all agreed it was too much),” Gordon said.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III added that aside from those in active service, there are also other former officials mentioned by Magalong.

Gordon wants to notify President Rodrigo Duterte of the said information at once through the President’s close aide Senator Bong Go.

Despite this development, Senator Imee Marcos for her part maintained that the names of the said officials should not be disclosed yet untill after a thorough investigation is conducted.

“They are very powerful people. They can escape. They can evade charges. They can even hit back,” the lady senator said.

Despite retirement from the police force, Magalong said he continuously receives reports about erring cops involved in illegal drugs which he immediately endorse to proper authorities.

“Ipino-forward ko sa mga SAF ang mga information ko. Nagpa-positive naman, (I forward the information to SAF. It later on turns out to be positive,)” Magalong concluded. — MNP (with details from Grace Casin)

Contact tracing czar Magalong tests positive for COVID-19

UNTV News   •   April 3, 2021

 

Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong

MANILA, Philippines — Baguio City mayor and the country’s contact tracing czar, Benjamin Magalong on Saturday confirmed that he has tested positive for COVID-19.

“It is with a sad note that I would like to inform everyone that as of my RT-PCR test conducted yesterday morning (April 2, 2021), to which my results came out at 4:30pm of the same day, I was tested positive of the Covid-19 virus,” he said in a statement.

He said contact tracing efforts are underway for those he had come into close contact with and advised everybody to observe the minimum health standards.

Magalong added that the news came out as a devastating blow for him and his family.

“The seriousness of this pandemic is something that we should not take for granted.  It is a difficult situation and I don’t want anyone of you to be in this condition as it is emotionally, psychologically and financially difficult for our loved ones to bear,” he said.

He assured however, that despite his current predicament, his team will continue to closely monitor the City’s situation and coordinate with proper authorities the necessary actions to be taken.

“Again, I am calling for everyone’s consideration to further observe protocols.  Let us do this for our family, our friends and everyone we care for,” the official said.

 

Roque ‘100% sure’ Duterte wants Magalong to stay as contact tracing czar

Robie de Guzman   •   February 2, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque on Tuesday said he is “100 percent sure” that President Rodrigo Duterte wants Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong to stay as the country’s contract tracing czar.

This is despite Magalong’s move to tender his resignation from the post after he was recently criticized over his attendance at a party organized by media personality Tim Yap which allegedly violated health protocols.

In an online press briefing, Roque said Duterte only has “words of praises” for Magalong in his competence to lead the government’s contact tracing efforts against COVID-19.

“I have heard with my own two ears, nothing but words of praises for mayor magalong from the president, so I am 100 percent sure that president would want to stay on as tracing czar,” Roque said.

Roque last week announced that the National Task Force against COVID-19 has rejected the resignation of Magalong.

Magalong, in a media interview earlier, said his resignation was irrevocable but he might stay as a contact tracing czar if Duterte asks him to do so.

Magalong resigns as Contact Tracing Czar but NTF says ‘no’

Marje Pelayo   •   January 29, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong submitted his resignation as the country’s Contact Tracing Czar after his attendance in a party organized by entertainment personality Tim Yap drew flak for violating some health safety protocols.

Among those seen to have violated the government health restrictions was Magalong’s wife.

In his resignation letter addressed to NTF Chief Implementer and Vaccine Czar Carlito Galvez Jr., Magalong admitted to having failed the government for not immediately acting on the violations on the night of the event.

“In hindsight, being a senior officer of the Task Force, I should have done an immediate spot correction of the errors that I witnessed during that time,” he explained.

With this, the Mayor accepted the blame and said he is willing to support should the NTF or the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) conduct an investigation on the incident.

“It pains me to see my family, and my constituents, in anguish over this but I am committed to hold myself accountable and do what is necessary to rectify this misstep.” Magalong said.

His colleagues in the NTF were saddened by Magalong’s sudden decision.

According to Galvez, Magalong’s exit will hugely impact the operations of the NTF.

“Malaking kawalan po sa amin iyon kasi po, 4 po ang haligi po ng ating PDITR, at isa po talaga ang contact tracing lalo na po ngayon sa mga adverse event,” Galvez explained.

“Kaliangan po ang syndromic surveillance at contact tracing and we can vouch for his honor and integrity,” he added.

Meanwhile, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque confirmed that the Task Force is not accepting Magalong’s resignation. 

“Mayor Magalong’s resignation, however, has not been accepted. He continues to enjoy the trust and confidence of the leadership of the National Task Force (NTF) against COVID-19,” he said.

For the part of the Department of Health (DOH), Magalong should remain in his position.

“He has helped the contact tracing efforts of the country a lot. Actually yung ating pakikipagtulungan kay Mayor Magalong is on that level na pagka kailangan talaga is tumatawag tayo sa kanya kasi he can really assist us,” said DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire.

“We know that the President has that trust and the DOH also trusts Mayor Magalong and we also believe that he should remain in that position,” she added.

The NTF appeals to the public for understanding to give Magalong another chance given his contribution to the country’s COVID-19 response. MNP (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

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