By Jing Villamente Reporter
The United Movement Against Drugs (Uni-Mad)-Caloocan Chapter on Tuesday urged the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) to look into alleged Caloocan narcopoliticians and their nefarious activities in Caloocan City.
In a letter addressed to PDEA Director General Arturo Cacdac, the anti-drug group requested the help of PDEA in gathering adequate evidence to expose Caloocan politicians involved in the drug trade as well as the candidates being supported by drug syndicates in the forthcoming elections.
Lawyer Arturo Magbanua, Uni-Mad Caloocan coordinator, also asked PDEA to keep tabs on Caloocan vice mayoral candidate Antonio “Nani” Almeda, who was recently linked to a drug case involving shabu worth millions of pesos. Almeda is the running mate of Rep. Oscar “Oca” Malapitan, who is gunning for the city top post. Both are the official candidates of United Nationalist Alliance (UNA).
Uni-Mad’s call was immediately supported by Akap-Bata Party-list led by Dr. Ed Clemente. Their group joined Uni-Mad in urging the PDEA and other government agencies to act on the pervasiveness of Caloocan narcopolitics.
Almeda’s name hit the headlines late last year when a sports utility vehicle assigned to him was seized in a buy-bust operation in Makati. Authorities found nine kilos of shabu (metamphetamine hydrochloride) worth at least P45 million in Almeda’s vehicle being driven by alleged American drug dealer Brian Hill, who was a popular disk jockey in elite parties where probers suspected he peddled illegal drugs.
Almeda was also the former chief of staff of Rep. Mikey Arroyo, son of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
According to a PDEA intelligence report, trafficking of shabu and other narcotics is being tolerated and is rampant in Bagong Barrio, Caloocan City, a known Malapitan bailiwick. The barangay captain in the area is Sharon Faye M. Bautista, daughter of Rep. Malapitan.
The group urged PDEA to immediately determine if the Malapitan tandem is benefiting from the multibillion-peso drug trade and if the campaign money circulating in Caloocan comes from drugs or other illicit sources.
After conducting their (Uni-Mad) own investigation, they said that the proliferation of drugs in Bagong Barrio is allegedly under the protection of several government officials.
In order to support their investigation, Uni-Mad sought after the aid of the leading anti-drug law enforcement agency to take a closer look at the Malapitan-Almeda tandem.
Uni-Mad also challenged PDEA to expose the fund sources of both Malapitan and Almeda. They warned that the illicit use of narcotics fund could alter the upcoming 2013 election results.
Information gathered states that some candidates are continuously receiving drug money from traffickers in exchange for their protection. Drug money is in turn being utilized to fund their campaign.
Akap-Bata Party-list urged Almeda to “explain why his name is involved in the illegal drug trade. That would not be a good image he would like to portray, especially to the youth in Caloocan.”
Clemente said that Akap-Bata will seek to find solutions to the “menace” of narcopolitics. “We don’t want leave to our children a country that is run by drug lords,” he said
Akap-Bata stated that their aim is to maintain a peaceful community and with the help of all the responsible agencies in the wage against narcotics, to create a drug-free society.
“Our goal is to minimize, if not eradicate, narcopolitics not only in the city of Caloocan but also in the entire nation,” he said.