‘Drug money flowed dur­ing polls’

The Philippine Star - - FRONT PAGE - By NON ALQUITRAN

Po­lice are in­ves­ti­gat­ing re­ports that drug money flowed dur­ing last Mon­day’s barangay and Sang­gu­ni­ang Ka­bataan (SK) elec­tions.

Philip­pine Na­tional Po­lice (PNP) chief Di­rec­tor Gen­eral Os­car Al­bay­alde said they are still val­i­dat­ing the re­ports.

Al­bay­alde ad­mit­ted that as of yes­ter­day, they still had no hold

on 127 barangay chiefs linked by the Philip­pine Drug En­force­ment Agency (PDEA) to the drug trade.

Vis­it­ing for the first time the Na­tional Cap­i­tal Re­gion Po­lice Of­fice (NCRPO) head­quar­ters since he as­sumed com­mand of the PNP last April 19, Al­bay­alde was asked whether barangay chair­men in the PDEA’s narco list used drug money to win in the last elec­tion.

“We are val­i­dat­ing the re­port and in co­or­di­na­tion with the PDEA we would do some­thing to have them hauled to court,” he said.

Al­bay­alde noted that in Metro Manila alone, six of the 12 barangay chair­men in the PDEA’s narco list won in the elec­tion.

He sug­gested drug money could have been used in the elec­tions. “Maybe it is more than 50 per­cent of those in the narco list won,” he said.

What the PNP noted though is that there was mas­sive vote buy­ing in the last elec­tions, which is “hap­pen­ing all over the coun­try ev­ery elec­tion day.”

Al­bay­alde di­rected his re­gional and dis­trict di­rec­tors to gather ev­i­dence of vote buy­ing against barangay chair­men and other can­di­dates “so we could do some­thing against them.”

When pressed why the barangay chair­men in the PDEA narco list won de­spite be­ing sub­jected to mas­sive neg­a­tive in­for­ma­tion drive, Al­bay­alde ex­plained that they could have been mem­bers of big fam­i­lies in their neigh­bor­hood.

“Maybe the vot­ers don’t be­lieve the ac­cu­sa­tions against them so they voted for them,” Al­bay­alde said.

But he re­it­er­ated his plan to sub­ject the narco barangay chair­men to “tokhang” op­er­a­tions should they fail to stop their ne­far­i­ous ac­tiv­i­ties.

“Like what Pres­i­dent Duterte had said, their win­ning is not a ticket or ex­cuse for them to be ex­cluded in tokhang op­er­a­tions,” he stressed.

Tokhang is a Ce­buano term for knock and plead, where in­di­vid­u­als sus­pected of be­ing in­volved in il­le­gal drugs would be vis­ited by po­lice­men and asked to stop their il­le­gal ac­tiv­i­ties and re­form.

The PNP has cred­ited the Tokhang pro­gram for the sur­ren­der of at least 1.3 mil­lion sus­pected drug of­fend­ers.

Al­bay­alde had said the PNP will sup­port the PDEA in gath­er­ing ev­i­dence that would war­rant the fil­ing of ad­min­is­tra­tive cases against the erring barangay of­fi­cials.

PDEA di­rec­tor gen­eral Aaron Aquino ear­lier said they are eye­ing a life­style check on barangay of­fi­cials in­cluded in the narco list.

The PNP has its list of barangay of­fi­cials sus­pected of in­volve­ment in il­le­gal drugs in each re­gion. Their list con­tains more names than those in the PDEA list.

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