Me­dia groups hit ‘ma­li­cious’ drug lists

Sun Star Bacolod - - Topstories - BY TERESA D. ELLERA

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.

Not true

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.*

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