NAGUILIAN, La Union: Mayor Reynaldo Flores has expressed fear for his and his family’s safety after he was named once more by President Rodrigo Duterte in a list of high- value target (HVT) drug suspects that was turned over to the military.
Flores told The Manila Times that he was surprised after an alleged validation of a “narco-politicians” list was released again and singled him out even with ongoing investigations of his case by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, Criminal Investigation and Detection Group and the Philippine National Police.
“When my name was first mentioned, I complied and went to these agencies and, all the while, I thought the investigation was going well. But last Saturday, my name was mentioned again out of thousand ‘narco-politicians’ and judges and I was the only one being singled out,” he said.
What worries him most, according to the mayor, is the safety of his family.
Flores suspected the accusation is politically motivated even as he earlier belied speculation that former La Union Second District congressman Thomas Dumpit linked him to drug dealing.
In a text message to The Manila Times, Dumpit said, “Pres. Duterte finally affirmed after validation that Mayor Reynaldo Flores of Naguilian, La Union is not only a shabu lab protector but considered a High Value Target, meaning he is also a major player in the drug trade in the province of LU. I advise him to help the government and tell what he knows especially the big fish.”
The mayor, however, thanked Duterte for mentioning his name, saying there is really a need to reopen the case to unmask the people involved in the shabu laboratory.
Flores said his name was mentioned because of intelligence reports fed to Duterte that tagged him as the alleged mastermind of the trillion-peso worth shabu laboratory in Barangay Upper Bimmotobot here that was raided in 2008.
In July 2008, a police raiding team found burners, 24 LPG tanks, 52 pieces of cauldron, 80 sacks of caustic soda potassium hydrate, 79 barrels of iodine crystal, 15 barrels of red phosphorous, 65 boxes of ethanol, seven industrial jars, respirators and other items that were believed being used in the manufacture of shabu, estimated to be worth trillions of pesos.
The items were found in the house of Saturnino Tangalin, while other materials for shabu were uncovered inside a cave in a part of his property.
What was considered to be the biggest shabu haul in the country led to the conviction of then-Pangasinan police chief, Supt. Dionisio Borromeo, and other policemen.
Flores claimed that he was responsible for the police discovery of the shabu laboratory and submitted an affidavit in court to clear his name.
Since Monday, strict security was enforced for the safety of Flores, particularly at the municipal hall grounds as his police escorts have been recalled.