• 3 La Union officials in drug list cleared

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    SAN FERNANDO CITY, La Union: Three of the four alleged narco-politicians in La Union earlier named by President Rodrigo Duterte have been cleared of links in illegal drugs after a validation conducted by law enforcement agencies.

    The Manila Times obtained a copy of the list of illegal drug personalities released by the Office of the President to the heads of law enforcement agencies in Region 1. It included La Union 2nd District Rep. Eufranio Eriguel; Mayor Dante Garcia of Tubao town and Mayor Martin De Guzman of Bauang town.

    Mayor Reynaldo Flores of Naguilian, La Union remained on the list for ‘further validation.’ He was listed because of the discovery of shabu laboratory in his town in July 2008.

    The four politicians were among the leading personalities identified by Duterte when he first announced in public his list of alleged narco-politicians.

    The names of Eriguel, Garcia and De Guzman were deleted in the list of Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA)–Region 1.

    A reliable source told The Manila Times that people close to those in charge of providing the list to the President included the names of their rival politicians like Rep. Amado Espino of Pangasinan.

    “It seems that the inclusion of names of these (La Union) politicians has political color because there are alleged (rival) politicians close to those who provide the list to the President,” the source said.

    The source added the decision of the President to distribute the list to regional heads of law enforcement agencies is enough proof that he wants to inform leaders in the regions that some of those personalities in his list were already cleared.

    PDEA director general Isidro Lapeña recently said only the President can announce and declare the name of an illegal drug personality in his list already cleared or not.

    It was learned that Flores’ name remained in the list pending result of an investigation by a task force determining the mastermind in the putting up of a shabu laboratory in the town.

    The reinvestigation of the shabu laboratory was conducted when Duterte named Flores in the narco-list. Flores then thanked the President for naming him which gave him opportunity to name those allegedly involved in the operation of the shabu laboratory.

    Flores now served as one of the witnesses in the shabu lab case which allegedly involved seven high-ranking active and retired police and military officials.

    Cases against these officials are now being prepared by an agency under the Office of the President to be file before the Department of Justice.

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