PDEA clears South Cotabato officials

June 30, 2009 9:11 am 

GENERAL SANTOS CITY, June 30 –- The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) has cleared local officials from this city and the neighboring areas from any involvement in the illegal drug trade.

Arce Adam, PDEA Region 12 intelligence officer, said they have not received any intelligence information that point to any local official, especially mayors, as behind the operations of syndicates that are involved in the distribution and selling of illegal drugs in the area.

“We have not yet received any information regarding that matter. What we have are some reports from local communities that we are pursuing right now,” he said.

The Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) had claimed that at least five mayors from Mindanao are reportedly on their watchlist for their alleged involvement in illegal drug activities.

DDB chair Vicente Sotto III said the Mindanao mayors included on their list, whom he did not identify, allegedly serve as protectors of illegal drug activities or coddlers of suspected illegal drug traffickers.

Eduardo Siason, permanent representative of South Cotabato Gov. Daisy Avance-Fuentes to the Provincial Anti-Drug Council (PADAC), said he could vouch that none among the province’s 10 municipal mayors and lone city mayor are involved in the illegal drug trade.

“I’ve been in the PADAC for more than a decade now and had closely monitored the operations of our anti-drug enforcers and so far I have not heard or seen any report that pointed to any local official as suspect in the distribution of illegal drugs,” he said.

However, Siason did not discount the possibility that some local officials in other areas of Mindanao could be behind the proliferation of illegal drugs.

He cited previous arrests made by law enforcers on some officials in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and other areas that revealed their involvement in illegal drug rings.

Several years ago, an ambulance owned by the municipal government of Lambayong in Sultan Kudarat was stopped near the Makar Wharf in General Santos City while about to transport suspected stocks of metamphetamine hydrochloride or "shabu."

Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte had also identified as mayor in Maguindanao province as alleged brains in the distribution and selling of shabu and other illegal drugs in southern and central Mindanao.(PNA)

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