URDANETA CITY, Pangasinan: Residents of a Muslim compound in Barangay Camantiles here demolished their more than 200 houses upon orders of Mayor Amadeo Gregorio Perez 4th to end speculations that he is coddling suspected drug pushers in the area.
Rinador Badron, an older leader of the Urdaneta City Muslim Association (UCMA), told The Manila Times that they decided to leave the compound upon Perez’ order even with the absence of a relocation site for them.
He said the mayor wanted to clear his and his father’s name, former 5th District Rep. Amadeo Perez Jr., who is allegedly included in the list of President Rodrigo Duterte as protectors of a drug syndicate operating from the Muslim compound.
Badron added that the older Perez told them in their meeting on Thursday that he is shamed by speculations circulating in the city that the houses at Darusalam Masjid (Muslim compound) are being occupied by a big-time supplier and drug pushers of shabu in Region I.
He said the former congressman in 1987 allowed them to use his property in appreciation of their support when he was reelected mayor. The compound of about 30,000 square meters hosts more than 200 houses that almost became permanent structures, contrary to their verbal agreement that only small houses made from bamboo or coconut lumber will be allowed.
Badron belied reports that some UCMA members are into drug pushing and drug addicts, saying they are a community engaged in buying and selling and most of them are vendors.
Since 1994, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency agents in Region I have suspected that the shabu being delivered to the provinces of Pangasinan, Ilocos Sur, La Union and Ilocos Norte and Baguio City is allegedly repacked inside the Muslim compound, based on sworn statements of arrested pushers.
The same compound was also named by Senator Vicente Sotto 3rd during a Senate inquiry as the alleged drop-off point of a drug syndicate from Metro Manila and mainland China.
The allegation prompted then-Philippine National Police chief Edgardo Aglipay to sack the chief of police in Urdaneta City.
Police investigators also told The Manila Times that most of those slain and arrested drug pushers in the city have been residents of the UCMA compound since 1994, which Badron confirmed.
In an exclusive interview, Chief Insp. Roque Constante Sison 3rd, district warden of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology in Urdaneta, also confirmed that 82 percent of the detained inmates involved in drugs are Muslim.