LOCAL officials in areas where the use of illegal drugs is rampant may also be investigated, presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said, as the Palace is preparing a memorandum mandating the investigation of mayors and barangay (village) captains linked to illegal drugs.
Abella added that the draft was discussed during the second Cabinet meeting in Malacañang on Monday.
“Also, [discussed was]a proposed memorandum to barangay captains and mayors [in]places with high incidence of drugs that they may be investigated for serious neglect of duty if found to have neglected their tasks,” he told reporters.
“The incidents usually happen in the barangay level so it’s basically area management. If this is your area, that’s your area of responsibility,” the spokesman said.
When asked when the memorandum would be released, Abella replied, “I cannot give you a timeline but it will be soon.”
Erring officials will be investigated by the Department of Interior and Local Government.
Former Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) director-general Dionisio Santiago said not only lawmakers, mayors and police officials are into drugs but their relatives as well.
“These relatives are not government employees but they have easy access to illegal drugs,” Santiago, former chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and director of the Bureau of Corrections during the time of former president Gloria Arroyo, said.
He, however, refused to give more details.
Santiago made a clarification about a story of The Manila Times that former President Benigno Aquino 3rd was also given a list of mayors linked to illegal drugs.
The same list was given to President Rodrigo Duterte.
“The only correction in your story is that the mentioned politicians were not into drugs but their relatives,” Santiago said.
Among the family names he mentioned were Amante, Alcala, Asistio, Ablan and Cuenca.
Santiago did not mention their first names.
Duterte had vowed to reveal the names of the 23 mayors who allegedly protected drug syndicates.
Santiago refused to say if the list included mayors in Metro Manila.
Senator Leila de Lima also on Tuesday urged the Philippine National Police (PNP) and other law enforcement agencies to go after big-time drug dealers to show that they are really serious in their campaign against illegal drugs.
De Lima, who is calling for a Senate inquiry into the rising numbers of drug-related killings, noted that no big-time dealer has yet been killed or arrested.
“I’m not saying that they should not arrest small drug people but they must show that they are serious with the campaign by going after both big and small drug dealers,” the senator pointed out.
She said there is a big possibility that some of those killed during anti-drug operations were assets of police who were put down to cover their bosses’ tracks.
WITH JEFFERSON ANTIPORDA