LA TRINIDAD, Benguet, May 7 (PIA) -- Benguet Governor Crescencio Pacalso called on authorities to verify names in the “narco list” recently released by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency.
Pacalso said the release to the public of the more than 200 barangay officials allegedly involved in illegal drug activities should be verified and validated first to ensure that they are really involved in illegal activities.
“What we would ask from the PNP is to verify, not immediately rely on the report but verify particularly public officials. Sometimes if it’s public official, it could be politically motivated so they should look into that but in all, everything should be verified first,” said the Governor in an interview during the Benguet Peace and Order Council meeting last week.
Barely two weeks before the May 14 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections, the PDEA released the “narco list” with 207 names of incumbent and former barangay officials allegedly involved in illegal drug activities.
PDEA Director Aaron Aquino said they made the list public upon the orders of President Rodrigo Duterte. He said the "narco list" has been validated by four law enforcement agencies.
Out of the 207 in the “narco list,” 117 are barangay kagawads while 90 are barangay chairpersons. At least 34 of the identified individuals are from the Cordillera Region.
Although no barangay official was identified in the province of Benguet, Pacalso said that there is still a need to verify the “narco list” before it was publicized to ensure that these officials would be filed cases in courts.
“Verification and validation of the list is very important to ensure that no innocent people would have been included in the new “narco list” of barangay officials,” he added.
In the past reports, individuals from Benguet were included in the list of marijuana cultivators but the province has been working very hard to eradicate marijuana plantations in the boundaries of Benguet, Ilocos Sur and La Union.
Pacalso added that the local government units have been working together with the various law enforcement agencies and the military to make the province as a drug-free and drug-cleared province.
Meanwhile, Baguio City Mayor Mauricio Domogan said that it was unfortunate that two barangay council members from two barangays in Baguio were included in the “narco list.”
Domogan said that one of the identified kagawad already appeared to him to clear his name. He advised the kagawad to appear to the law enforcement agencies and secure certification and affidavit to clear his name and be erased from the “narco list.” Redjie Melvic Cawis (ALT/RMC- PIA CAR)