Media groups hit ‘malicious’ drug lists
Media groups in Bacolod City and Negros Occidental denounced the “malicious” spreading through social media of anonymous lists of purported drug personalities, including at least 15 of their colleagues.
The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines and the Negros Press Club, in a joint statement, said that the inconsistencies and seeming lack of logic in the composition of the lists indicate that these were drawn up by conflicting parties out to destroy each other while, at the same time, attempting to muddle their tracks by including random names, including their colleagues.
“This is unfortunate because, even as the war on drugs claimed thousands of lives all over the country, almost all of the victims were deprived of their right to due process,” said the media groups, whose members signed a manifesto.
“We expect our authorities – both law en- forcement and the civil government – to uphold the rule of law and ensure the safety of all citizens, especially the innocent,” the statement said. “We demand that they investigate and get the cowards and criminals – for what they have done is a crime – responsible for creating and spreading these lists and prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law.”
“We call on all members of the media community of Bacolod City and Negros Occidental to close ranks and defend our integrity even as we urge everyone to uphold the highest ethical and professional standards as we go about our work. Let us not be cowed by these slanders and threats. Let us remain committed to our calling and continue to serve the people’s right to know,” the groups said.
For his part, Murcia Mayor Andrew Montelibano denied the drug list implicating him as drug protector.
“The list is fake,” Montelibano said in a press conference yesterday.
He said he wants to clear his name because he really hates drugs as he knows the consequences.
The lists, he said, is made by somebody to mislead the investigating authorities and cover up some people.
“This is affecting us because we cannot force people to believe or not to believe. This affects us personally and our respective families,” he said.
“We are in public service. We fight drugs with the President. I believe that Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) will come out with validated list because they are the proper authorities,” Montelibano said.
For his part, Abang Lingkod party-list Representative Stephen Paduano, whose name was also included in the list of alleged drug protectors, said the days of the trolls are numbered.
“When that news came out through social media through a fictitious account we were in session. It came out on Facebook account of a troll and we have checked it but the account was already deactivated. My life is an open book. I have nothing to hide,” Paduano pointed out.
“There was even a bigtime drug dealer in Barangay Bata, Bacolod City who went to me and pledged to me that he will stop his illegal gambling and he did it and I have stopped several illegal gambling activities. I even have my brother imprisoned during the previous police chiefs of the Bacolod City Police Office because of illegal gambling. Now you accuse me of being a protector of illegal drugs in Bacolod City?”
“I would like to announce to those responsible of coming out with the lists that your days are numbered. We already have initial information that the NBI Manila through the Cyber Division has already started the investigation," Paduano said.*