Thursday, July 24, 2014

CL peace czar dares PDEA to name pols, lawmen in drug trade

CABANATUAN CITY – Nueva Ecija Gov. Aurelio Umali, the chairman of the Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC) in Central Luzon, on Thursday challenged the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) to name the politicians and law enforcers involved in the illegal drugs trade in the province.

          Presiding  over a meeting of the Provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC) at the old provincial capitol here, Umali called on Jeoffrey Tacio, PDEA regional director, to once and for all identify the biggest drug pushers and traffickers in the province.

          He said that the PDEA  should likewise provide classified information on the possible involvement of public officials and policemen in the illegal drugs trade.

          The meeting was attended by officials of various government agencies involved in law enforcement among them the Department of the Interior and Local Governments, the Philippine National Police, the Philippine Army, the Department of Justice and others.

          Also involved in the discussions were DILG Region 3 director Florida Dijan, DILG assistant regional director and concurrent provincial director, Dr. Abraham Pascua, Army Col. Felimon Santos, commander of the 703rd Infantry Brigade and police deputy provincial director for operations, Superintendent Bernie Orig representing provincial police director Senior Superintendent Crizaldo Nieves who is on official mission abroad.

          Umali issued the challenge shortly after Tacio presented the accomplishment report of the PDEA during the first semester of 2014.

          In his report, Tacio,a member of the PPOC, cited they have conducted 233 operations against illegal drugs and arrested 322 persons and seized 532 grams of metamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu and 9,550 grams of marijuana and filed 226 cases in court.

          Of those arrested, 173 were pushers and 92 were possessors. Of the 233 operations, 176 were carried out during buy-bust and the rest  through search warrants, checkpoints among others.
          Tacio said for the period covered, Cabanatuan recorded the highest number of drug-affected barangays with 13 followed by Sta. Rosa, San Jose City and Sto. Domingo.

          He said the agency is employing a three-pronged strategy of conducting joint intelligence workshop, the neutralization of drug personalities and the close monitoring of clandestine laboratories, suspected drug dens and shabu tiangge.

          Umali said that while the PDEA is doing its job of neutralizing drug personalities in the province, it would be to the best interest of the public if it would identify the biggest drug pushers involved.

           “You need to name names. Identify the biggest drug pusher. And are there public officials and policemen involved? And is there any  clandestine laboratory in Nueva Ecija?,” he said.

          He said if the agency could not release the names, then its intelligence build-up would amount to nothing.

          “And if you could not give us hard facts on illegal drugs, how can we possibly provide you with the needed support to solve the drug menace?,” he said.

          Tacio did not publicly respond to the governor’s dare. But when pressed by newsmen, he said five politicians and between five to 10 law enforcers were involved in the illegal drugs trade.

          He said, though that he could not yet disclose the names of those involved because the information they gathered is still being validated. 

          Umali also expressed concern that this city, Nueva Ecija’s urban and commercial center, has emerged as the drug capital of the province thus, disturbing its climate of peace.

He said he found it disappointing that while he heads the RPOC, disturbing peace and order problems need to be addressed in his province. “How can you talk peace in the entire region when in the province where I belong I can’t give peace?,” he said.   

          He said he would call an executive session in the coming weeks to further tresh out the drug problem. – Manny Galvez


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