UPON the instruction of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) to file charges against local officials who will not support the government campaign against illegal drugs, three barangay officials in the Metro East are facing a complaint for their alleged refusal to provide a list of suspected drug personalities in their area of jurisdiction.
In a document obtained by the Journal Group, Chairman Edwin Cruz of New Za-niga and Tagani Evangelista of Pleasant Hills, both in Mandaluyong City, and Chairman Daniel Simon Gaa, of Bgy. Tibagan, San Juan City, were accused of not cooperating with the anti-illegal drugs campaign of the Philippine National Police (PNP).
The complaint was sent to the office of Interior and Local Government Secretary Ismael Sueno, Mandaluyong City Mayor Carmelita Abalos and San Juan City Mayor Guia Gomez by Eastern Police District (EPD) director Chief Supt. Romulo Sapitula dated September 6, 2016.
Barangay officials are required to submit a list of suspected drug personalities as part of PNP’s Oplan: Tokhang where cops and village officials knock on the doors of suspected drug users and pushers to warn them and ask them to change their ways.
Part of the letter said, “We believe that the barangay chairman has a vital role in the success of this illegal drugs campaign. However, reports from our Station and Police Community Precints (PCPs) that Barangay Chairmen Cruz, Evangelista and Gaa are uncooperative on the PNP Anti-Illegal Drugs Campaign Plan, ‘Project Double Barrel.’ We are anticipating from your good office for appropriate action on this matter.”
It was learned that Chairman Cruz submitted a drug watchlist of known drug dependents last August 31 to PCP1 commander. Likewise, Evangelista issued a formal barangay certification stating that his area is drug-cleared barangay with attachments from Mandaluyong Anti-Drug Abuse Council (MADAC).
Chairman Gaa did not submit list of drug personalities despite numerous follow-up conducted by PCP-3 personnel.
Sapitula explained “Project Double Barrel” aims to clear all drug-affected barangays within the EPD area of responsibility (AOR). The EPD intends to address the illegal drugs problem in the barangays at the same time pursue the neutralization of illegal drug personalities, most importantly drug lords, pushers, manufacturers, protectors, coddlers and financiers.
Sapitula cited some possible reasons why they don’t cooperate: Because they might lose votes in the barangay elections, either they are protectors of these drug personalities which they get money from the illegal drug business in their area, or they’re just afraid.
“’Yung lang ang tatlong reasons na nakikita ko kasi ilang beses na silang pinagsu-submit since June pero hindi. Paulit-ulit sila na hindi nagbibigay ng listahan kaya inireklamo ko na sila sa kanilang mga mayors at kay SILG,” he said.
Sapitula said barangay officials, who will be found not cooperating with the anti-drugs campaign of the government, can be charged with serious neglect of duty.