Some personalities on Duterte’s ‘narco-list’ deny allegations
Marje Pelayo • March 15, 2019 • 1972
MANILA, Philippines – Several personalities whose names were mentioned by President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday (March 14) as among those listed on his narco-list have spoken up to clear their names.
El Nido, Palawan Mayor Nieves Rosento questioned the government’s claim that the allegations against them have been validated.
“Sinasabi po nila na they validated all of these. Saan po talaga actual na nakukuha yung mga information? Will it be sa mga taong kumakalaban sa atin o yung mga nasagasaan natin ng pagi-implement natin ng batas? (They were saying that they have validated all of these. Where did they get the actual information? Was it from our rivals in the election or was it from those offended by our implementation of the law?),” she said.
Pangasinan 1st District Rep. Jesus Celeste maintained his clean conscience on the matter ever since his name was implicated in illegal drugs two years ago.
“Sa unanguna pa lamangnoong 2016, nagrequestnaakonaimbestigahanako. Binuksan ko angpamamahay ko naimbestigahanlahat. Meron namangresultana. Negative lahatang result, (Even before in 2016, I requested to investigate myself. I opened my house doors for investigation. And the results were negative,)” Celeste argued.
Los Baños Laguna Mayor Ceazar Perez, for his part, asserted his innocence ever since his name was dragged into the controversy.
“2017 pa lang kumakalat na iyang involved ako sa drugs. Binabalewala ko lang kasi walang katotohanan yung bagay na yun, (These drug allegations against me has been going around since 2017. I just ignore it because there is no truth to that matter,)” he said.
On Thursday (March 15), President Rodrigo Duterte surprised the public by naming the alleged drug personalities on his narco-list.
The list involved 35 mayors, seven vice mayors, one provincial board member and three congressmen.
They are from Ilocos Region, Cagayan Valley, MIMAROPA, Caraga Region, Central Visayas, Zamboanga Peninsula, Central Luzon, SOCCSKARGEN, Northern Mindanao and Western Visayas.
“There can never be a valid argument to deny the public, the people of the Philippines at large, to know who are the officials who should not be there in their office and in these particular case now, those who are involve in the deadly name of drug trafficking,” the President said.
According to DILG Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya, they released the narco-list as part of their mandate adding that such a move has nothing to do with the upcoming election.
“I would like to assure na ang ating mga kababayan, even yung mga nagsasabi ng negative campaigning na wala po kaming instensyong ganun. (I would like to assure the public, even those who accused us of negative campaigning, that we have no such intention.) This is just incidental na panahon ng eleksyon ngayon (that election period is on,)” explained Malaya.
The official said the narco-list was carefully screened by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), the lead agency in the Inter-Agency Committee On Anti-Illegal Drugs with the help of other law enforcement agencies to nclude the Philippine National Police (PNP), the Armed Forces Of The Philippines (AFP), and the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency.
“So itong apat na ahensyang ito, nagtulungan para mabuo itong listahan na ito,(These four agencies worked together to come up with this list.) So we are very confident. Mabigat yung ating mga ebidensya at sana panigan tayo ng Ombudsman, (We have strong evidence and we hope the Ombudsman will rule in our favor,)” Malaya concluded. – Marje Pelayo (with details from Nel Maribojoc)
MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte and his delegation are set to fly to China for a working visit in response to the invitation from Chinese President Xi Jinping.
It will be Duterte’s fifth visit to Beijing and his eight meeting with Xi.
The two leaders will meet on August 29 when they will discuss several agreements on education, science and technology, economy and social development.
The President himself also stressed that he would insist the Hague Arbitral Ruling during his meeting with the Chinese President along with other sensitive issues like the code of conduct and joint exploration in the disputed territory in the West Philippine Sea (WPS).
“We cannot preempt what does the President will discuss in particular regarding the arbitral ruling. So, it will be his call during the meeting with the President with his counterpart,” explained Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Meynardo Montealegre.
The Philippine delegation will also attend a business forum in China in cooperation with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).
The President’s itinerary includes a meeting with Vice President Wang Qishan and some relax time in the opening of the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup in Guanzhou on August 31 in support to the Philippines’ GILAS team in their game against Italy.
Meanwhile, contrary to earlier announcements, President Duterte will no longer push through with his visit to Fujian province where he was supposed to grace the launching of a university building as tribute to his mother, Soledad.
According to the President’s close in staff, this is not the right time for it.
“But for this particular visit, there was a plan and then the recommendation now is to move it at a later date because it’s more appropriate to be done at a later date and not at this particular time,” noted Robert Borje, the Chief of the Presidential Protocol and Presidential Assistant on Foreign Affairs. – MNP (with details from Rosalie Coz)
MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang is letting Atty. Persida Acosta to decide on whether or not to resign as Chief of the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) following complaints of corruption.
PAO lawyers filed the complaint at the Office of the Ombudsman accusing the PAO Chief and forensics chief Erwin Erfe of corrupt practices in relation to the disbursements and allocation of the PAO budget.
Acosta and Erfe allegedly committed a ‘systematic scheme’ in diverting P13 million of the agency’s budget for office supplies for drafting Dengvaxia-related cases.
Presidential Spokesman Secretary Salvador Panelo, meanwhile, said that knowing President Rodrigo Duterte, his trust in his officials remains unless reports of irregularities are proven.
“Si President, hangga’t walang findings of probable cause, palaging andun ang trust (President (Duterte’s) trust on a person remains unless there is no finding of a probable cause),” Panelo said.
“Pero kung may probable cause na, ibang usapan iyon, then there will be suspension galing sa Ombudsman. Hindi naman teritoryo ni president iyon (But once a probable cause is established, that’s a different story. There will be suspension coming from the Ombudsman. It is no longer the President’s territory),” the Palace Spokesman concluded. – MNP (with details from Mai Bermudez)
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