CHARGES are being readied against 10 mayors suspected to be involved in the illegal drug trade, according to an official of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).
“We are now readying orders to strip them of police powers as soon as the pieces of evidence are put together. Case build-ups are ongoing. The moment we are ready, then we will go to the judge to get search warrants,” DILG Undersecretary for Operations John Castriciones told The Manila Times.
To date, three mayors have been stripped of police control — Tomas Osmeña of Cebu City, Daanbantayan (Cebu) Mayor Vicente Loot and Reynaldo Porojinog of Ozamis City.
“Aside from administrative sanctions, we will strip them of control over the local police. We will also suspend the issued firearm licenses to them,” Castriciones said of the local chief executives whom he did not identify.
President Rodrigo Duterte announced, without naming names, earlier said that 23 executives of local government units, including mayors and governors and congressmen, are actively involved in the illegal drug trade either as protector or drug dealers. He claimed some of them work in tandem with drug lords serving sentence at the New Bilibid Prisons (NBP) in Muntinlupa City.
Just recently, Duterte showed a drug matrix that showed Sen. Leila de Lima, former Pangasinan governor and now Fifth District Rep. Amado Espino Jr., his provincial administrator Raffy Baraan, former Justice undersecretary Francisco Baraan, former Bureau of Corrections director Franklin Bucayu and Ronnie Dayan, the alleged lover of the senator.
The National Bureau of Investigation is also investigating the alleged involvement of mayors, governors, and congressmen in illegal drugs.
Castriciones said the DILG faces a huge challenge in its bid to stop the distribution of illegal drugs.
Castriciones heads Task Force Agila, which is composed of officials of the DILG, National Police Commission and the Philippine National Police.
The task force has been directed to go after narco-politicians, particularly at the local government level.