By Genalyn D. Kabiling
President Duterte’s war on illegal drugs is not purely a shame game after all.
After publicly naming and shaming government officials with suspected links to illegal drugs, Malacañang is now preparing another list – this time an honor roll of local executives untainted by the menace.
Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said the new government list will be released soon to “celebrate” the “clean” local government unit (LGU) officials who outnumber those implicated in illegal drugs operations.
“In a few days, we will release a list of clean LGU officials. It was a borne out of my usual media meeting with ES [Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea]. We thought that it was also proper to celebrate the untainted reputation of LGU executives when it comes to illegal drugs,” Andanar said.
“Based on the list, there are more clean governors and mayors than LGU executives who are suspected to be in the illegal drugs business,” he added.
President Duterte had earlier identified more than 150 judges, local officials, and policemen allegedly involved in illegal drug trade. He has asked the concerned officials to report to their superiors to clear their names.
The Palace, meantime, defended the President’s name-and-shame campaign against drug coddlers in government.
“The President’s primary concern is to deliver effective action to the people. By calling out the names of the judges on the list, he is giving them every chance and opportunity to be prepared to defend themselves, clear their names if they are innocent, and alert the community of their involvement in drugs if they are guilty,” Andanar said.
“Not everybody will applaud him for his audacity, but the President is putting his life, his honor, and the presidency at stake. His love for the people is greater than his fear for his own life, or the fear of embarrassment, failure, or mistake,” he added.
P88-M DRUG HAUL
As Malacañang prepares a “clean” list, policemen swooped down on the residence of Albuera, Leyte, Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr. yesterday and confiscated some P88 million worth of shabu and some bomb component.
In a report reaching Chief Supt. Elmer C. Beltejar, Police Regional Office 8 (PRO-8) acting director, said policemen led by Albuera police head Chief Inspector Jovie Espinido raided Espinosa’s house at Sitio Tinago, Barangay Binulho in Albuera on the strength of a search warrant.
Senior Superintendent Domingo S. Cabillan, PRO-8 chief of the operations, told Manila Bulletin that the raiding team confiscated 11 packs containing white crystalline, believed to be shabu.
Espinosa had earlier surrendered to Director General Ronald dela Rosa, PNP chief, after Duterte implicated him in illegal drugs trade.
Police have already filed cases against Mayor Espinosa and his son.
Chief Inspector Elizabeth Jasmin, spokesperson of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), said illegal possession of drugs and firearms were filed against Mayor Espinosa Sr. and his son Kerwin in connection with the clash and raid on his house, where six of their men were killed.
“The cases were filed by our personnel in Eastern Visayas using the pieces of evidence taken from the recent operations there. The charges were filed before the Provincial Prosecutor’s Office,” said Jasmin.
Police killed six members of the Espinosa group last week after the latter allegedly fired on patrolling lawmen near the house of the mayor in Sitio Tinago.
METRO DRUG DRIVE
Meanwhile in Metro Manila, two policemen allegedly involved in illegal drugs were killed in separate operations.
In Pasig City, Police Officer 2 Miguel C. Turaray alias “JR,” who was assigned in Camp Crame, Quezon City, was shot dead Tuesday night by motorcycle-riding suspects.
Investigators said Turaray was standing near his residence on San Roque Street in Barangay Bagong Ilog when the suspects fired at him.
In Quezon City, PO1 Reyadzper Ibba, 34, of Barangay Culiat, Tandang Sora, and detailed at the Quezon City Police District’s (QCPD) Talipapa Police Station (PS-3), was killed after engaging his fellow cops in a shootout Tuesday night.
QCPD chief Senior Supt. Guillermo Eleazar said Ibba had just finished his duty and was still in his uniform when he was killed in an encounter around 6:30 p.m. along Katipunan Ave.-SB Road, near corner Gen Luis St., in Barangay Nagkaisang Nayon, Novaliches.
Eleazar said a buy-bust operation against Ibba was conducted by operatives of the Regional Anti-Illegal Drugs-Special Operations Task Group (RAID-SOTG) of the National capital Regional Police Office after he was found to be allegedly selling illegal drugs.
In Makati City, Senior Supt. Rommil Mitra reported to Mayor Abby Binay that at least 1,049 suspected drug personalities surrendered.
Mitra said police are in talks with barangay officials on how to counsel persons linked to illegal drugs but who have surrendered voluntarily.
“I commend the Makati police and our barangay officials and residents for bringing the figure to over 1,000 in a span of two weeks, from over 700 individuals who surrendered in the first half of July,” Mayor Binay said.
The Makati police reported that they have been in constant coordination with officials of the six exclusive villages that refuse to cooperate in the illegal drugs campaign.
Up to now, there were still no surrenderees as of July 31 from the exclusive villages of Magallanes, Dasmariñas, Forbes, San Lorenzo, Urdaneta, and Bel-Air, police said. (With reports from Aaron B. Recuenco, Nestor Abrematea, Jenny Manongdo, Vanne Terrazola, and Anna Liza Alavaren)