THE chairman of the House Committee on Dangerous Drugs yesterday urged the Office of the Ombudsman, especially Deputy Ombudsman for Visayas Paul Elmer Clemente, to use its motu proprio power to investigate public officials whom suspected drug lord Kerwin Espinosa may implicate in the illegal drug trade in the country.
Surigao del Norte Rep. Robert Ace Barbers, the panel chairman, strongly urged Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales to seriously use its power to conduct motu proprio fact-finding investigation to help President Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte’s anti-illegal drug campaign.
“I’ve heard that Kerwin named in his affidavit several incumbent public officials and police officers among those who have been involved in the illicit drug trade. From there the Office of the Ombudsman can start its motu proprio fact-finding probe. They should exercise their powers or become a useless agency,” Barbers pointed out, underscoring the importance to charge public officials who are purportedly behind the proliferation of illegal drugs in the country.
“Magandang development ito because according to reports, si Kerwin who was allegedly considered once upon a time the number two man in the distribution network of drugs in Eastern Visayas, has now spilled the beans. Mayroon s’yang ibinigay na information na magkukuwento kung paano pumapasok ‘yung droga at pano nadi-distribute, sino ang mga tao sa likod ng pagpasok at distribution ng droga, sino ‘yung coddlers at protectors ng droga. These are information that I think is very vital in order for the administratation to really succeed,” said Barbers.
Barbers said the swift action of the Ombudsman against the involvement of some public officials to the illegal drug trade will spare the anti-graft body from suspicion that even some of its men are allegedly part of the drug problem.
“I hope they should not turn a blind eye because drug problem is ruining our country. The concerned Ombudsman officials should monitor all the developments with the arrival in the country of Kerwin and his appearance to the Senate inquiry this coming Wednesday,” Barbers stressed.
Speaker Pantaleon “Bebot” Alvarez vowed to deal seriously with the possible involvement of some of his colleagues in the illegal drug trade should Espinosa name some of them as his coddlers and protectors.
Alvarez said he will immediately ask the powerful House Committee on Rules chaired by Ilocos Norte Rep. Rodolfo “Rudy” Fariñas to deliberate on the possibility that some members of the 17th Congress are in cahoots with Espinosa.
He expressed belief that Espinosa’s admission will be based on truth to benefit the country given the magnitude of the drug problem.
“Maganda ‘yan para malaman ng sambayanan kung ano talaga ang katotohanan. Kung sino’ yung nagtaksil sa bayan at sino ‘yung involved sa droga na talaga namang hinaharap na matindi ng ating bayan ngayon,” Alvarez told Angelo Palmones, a former party-list congressman representing Alyansa ng mga Grupong Haligi ng Agham at Teknolohiya para sa Mamamayan (Agham), over dzRH radio interview.
“Mahirap magsalita ngayon [kung may kasabwat si Espinosa] dahil wala pa naman. Ngayong kung lumabas nga na mayroong congressmen na involved na incumbent, pag-uusapan ‘yan sa committee on rules,” Alvarez explained.
Asked about the statement of Sen. Leila de Lima expecting that she will be implicated by Espinosa, Alvarez responded: “Alam n’ya (de Lima) kasi alam n’ya ang katotohanan, kaya ini-expect n’ya na ‘yon.”