COUNCILOR LINKED TO DRUGS REFUSES TO LEAVE HOUSE

By: Jessa Mae O. Sotto, PIT Intern, Rosalie O. Abatayo May 02,2018 - 11:15 PM

PDEA to release more names, monitors 20 candidates linked to drugs

Councilor Bibiano Cabaron of Barangay Palanas, Ronda town, south Cebu, hasn’t gone out of their house since Monday.

“Nauwaw ko and at the same time nahadlok (I’m ashamed and at the same time afraid),” he told Cebu Daily News over the phone.

Cabaron, a former village chief of Palanas in Ronda before he was elected councilor, was among three

Cebuanos who were in the narco list released by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) last Monday.

Although he was badly affected by the accusations, Cabaron said he has no plans of filing a case against PDEA.

Instead, he planned to submit an affidavit to the anti-narcotics agency to answer the allegations hurled against him and to prove his innocence.

“Ang akoa lang gusto mao ang paglimpyo sa akong ngalan (All I want is to clean my name),” Cabaron said.

The 60-year-old councilor was advised by his nephew, a policeman, to remain in their house until the issue had died down.

Cabaron and his family were afraid that some people might take advantage of the situation and put his life in danger.

In a press conference at the PDEA central office in Quezon City last Monday, PDEA Director General Aaron Aquino made public the names of 90 barangay captains and 117 barangay councilors who were allegedly “involved in illegal drug activities.” Aside from Cabaron, the other former barangay captains in Cebu who allegedly had a hand in the illegal drugs trade were Ramonette Durano and Marc Ferdinand Bas.

In the list, Durano was described “as a former village chief of Suba who is now the public information officer of Danao City” in northern Cebu.

Bas, on the other hand, was a former barangay captain of Lagtang in Talisay City.

In a statement, Rep. Ramon “Red” Durano IV of 5th district, said there was no Ramonette Durano who served as information officer in Danao.

But he said there is a Ramonette Cynthia D. Mahinay who was the city’s information officer and a village chief until October 2013.

Cebu Gov. Hilario Davide III urged PDEA to make good of its plans to file charges against those in the narco list.

“That’s the only way they can answer the accusations against them,” he said.

Davide appealed to government officials who were still involved in the narcotics trade to stop their illegal operations.

“Whatever you are doing, if your are into the illegal drugs trade, please stop it. It will affect your efficiency and effectiveness as public officials,” he said.

In an interview, PDEA-7 spokesperson Leia Albiar said barangay officials who were involved in illegal drugs but were not included in the narco list should not celebrate yet.

She said law enforcement agencies were still validating the involvement of 274 other barangay officials and would release their names if their illegal activities were confirmed.

“There were questions as to why there were just three Cebuanos on the narco list. But let me tell you that we’re not done yet,” she said.

Albiar said the PDEA will reveal the names of another batch of barangay officials who were into illegal drugs although the announcement would not likely happen before the May 14 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections.

She said at least 20 persons who were being monitored by PDEA-7 had filed their Certificates of Candidacy at the Commission on Elections.

Albiar, however, didn’t reveal their names.

“And even if these people will win, the PDEA will still go after them and file the appropriate cases,” she said.

Albiar said the PDEA will file criminal cases as well as administrative complaints against those in the narco list.

Director Derrick Carreon, chief public information officer of the PDEA, was confident that the PDEA didn’t violate any law in revealing the names of those on the narco list, and that there was enough basis to do so.

“First, it was the President’s order (to reveal the names on the narco list). Second, the contents therein were validated. Third, public office is public trust so we, in government, our right to privacy is subdued or subordinated by the right of the public to know especially if the person has a shady background,” he explained.

Carreon said making public the names of those in the narco list was the administration’s response to public clamor.

“People want to know whom to vote and whom not to vote in the elections,” he said.

Carreon said the agency welcomed any case that would be filed by those who may have been hurt by the publication of the narco list.

“Let them exhaust whatever legal remedies available to them and we will answer everything,” he said. / PIT Intern Marthy John Lubiano

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TAGS: councilor, drugs, LEAVE HOUSE, linked, REFUSES

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