(Foreground) Councilor Al Daud Cali of Barangay Upper Hinaplanon in Iligan City being interviewed by UNTV News and Rescue correspondent Weng Fernandez (seated)
MINDANAO, Philippines – Several election hopefuls in the upcoming barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan polls are worried about their safety following the release of “barangay narcolist” by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA.)
Councilor Al Daud Cali of Barangay Upper Hinaplanon in Iligan City decided to withdraw his candidacy after hearing his name included in the list of barangay officials involved in illegal drugs trade. He insists he is a victim like anybody else.
“Biktima lang talaga kami. Kontra partido kasi kami. Iyon ang nakikita kong dahilan… Wala po akong record sa PNP,” he said.
(We’re really just victims here because we’re from the opposing party. That’s the only reason I see…I have no records with PNP.)
Councilor Gayson Matildo of the nearby Barangay Sto. Rosario was holding back his tears when he heard that his name was on the dreaded list.
“Kaya nga diyan ako nagtaka. Bakit napunta ako sa ganyan? Siguro baka ini-asses nila ang bahay namin na pina-renovate ng mama (ko,) tapos kagawad lang ako. Pero sa totoo wa jud koy gasto bisan piso. (Wala ako gastos kahit piso). In fact miyembro pa ko sa 4P’s,” Matildo explained.
(I was taken aback. How did my name end up on the list? Maybe they assessed our house that my mother had renovated, and I’m just a councilor. But to be honest, I never spent a peso on that house. In fact, I’m a 4P’s beneficiary.)
Barangay Captain Benito Salvani of Barangay San Antonio Agusan Del Norte said he fears for his life and for his family especially that a number of barangay officials have been reported dead following the release of the narco list.
“Ang aking pamilya ang natakot sa sitwasyon ko ngayon kasi syempre maraming na tokhang, maraming namatay dahil sa droga,” Salvani said.
(My family fears for my safety because of the current situation I’m in. A lot of people have been killed because of drugs.)
For his part, Barangay Captain Antonio Deles of Barangay Camino Nuevo in Zamboanga City, sees politics as the reason why he is being implicated in the drug trade. Deles maintained he is innocent.
“Basta ako tatayo ako sa sarili ko sa harapan ninyo. Hindi ako kasali dyan. Wala akong kasalanan. Trabaho lang ang ginagawa ko sa barangay,” he said.
(I will stand before you. I’m not part of it. I didn’t do anything. I just work at the barangay.) – UNTV News & Rescue