Last week, Abra Governor Maria Jocelyn Bernos brought the 14 barangay officials from the different municipalities of Abra for a dialogue with the Police Regional Office –Cordillera (PRO-Cor) and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency officials.
“I personally brought these officials to signify our sincerity and our commitment to the government’s thrust on the fight on illegal drugs and support for a drug-free society for the province of Abra,” Bernos said.
These barangay officials, which Bernos calls as “the lucky ones” won in the May 14, 2018 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections despite their names being dragged in the “narco politicians” list released by the PDEA days before the election.
At least 34 barangay officials from the Cordillera Region are in the “narco politicians” list, with 24 of them from Abra.
After the elections, 14 were elected - five of them as punong barangays with three of them unopposed and nine as barangay kagawads.
“We hope that their intentions are genuine and that they would not indulge anymore on illegal drugs; rather they will help in eradicating illegal drugs in their respective areas,” PRO-Cor Regional Director PCSupt. Rolando Nana said. He bared that he initially talked to the five barangay captains who expressed their commitment to support the campaign and programs of the government and take necessary steps to clear their names.
“We urge the identified narco-politicians to lead by example in their places to help erase the bad image that was imputed to them following their inclusion in the President’s drug list. We will help those who are willing to help themselves to make sure that their place will be freed from the tentacles of drug syndicates who want to ruin the image of certain areas and the bright future of the youth by distributing prohibited drugs in various parts of the country,” Nana added.
One of the 14 barangay officials said he is happy for this dialogue which hopefully will lead to the clearing of their name from the narco list.
“Naragsakak iti daytoy nga inaramid mi ta kayat ko met nga madalusan ti nagnagan mi, ta ti inmayan mi ditoy ket umay kami makitinnulong ti programa ni apo Presidente Duterte ken ti PNP tapnu dardaras ti panag sardeng ti kriminalidad ken dagitoy drugs. Isu dayta ti ipatpatungpal ni apo President isunga kayat mi met nga madalusan ti ili mi ijay Abra,” (We are happy that we did this (dialogue) since we want our names to be cleared, and at the same time, we signify our support to the anti-drug campaign of President Duterte and the PNP in order to eliminate fast illegal drugs and criminality in the province of Abra).
After the dialogue, the Abra ‘narco-politicians’ underwent processing, profiling and voluntary drug testing by the PDEA-CAR and the PRO-Cor crime laboratory.
Meanwhile, PDEA-CAR Assistant Regional Director Allan Lloyd Lleano explained that an adjudication committee is being created by various law enforcement agencies with the Office of the President to study the cases and status of the narco politicians despite their renewed commitment. (PIA CAR with UC Interns)