OPPOSITION lawmakers yesterday slammed the Office of the Ombudsman for its ‘deafening silence’ on public officials allegedly involved in the illegal drug trade. House Deputy Minority Leader and Buhay Hayaang Yumabong (Buhay) party-list Rep. Lito Atienza as well as Ako Bicol party-list Rep. Alfredo Garbin said the anti-graft body should do its job by running after public officials who are reportedly behind the proliferation of illegal drugs as their contribution to support President Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte’s war on drugs in the country.
Atienza said the quick action of the Ombudsman on the possible involvement of public officials to the illegal drug trade will spare the anti-graft body from suspicion that some of its men are allegedly also part of the drug problem.
“Masyado silang (Ombudsman people) tahimik doon [sa drugs]. Dapat nilang pansinin dahil ito ang problema ngayon na kinakaharap ng ating bayan as pointed out by President Duterte,” Atienza stressed.
Atienza recalled that Duterte has named magistrates, local executives, retired and active police officers who are allegedly involved in illegal drugs.
“They should seriously look into the drug proliferation and the involvement of public officials into the drug problem. They should pursue this at makatulong sila nang maayos dito sa ating pagsisikap na matigil ang problema sa iligal na droga,” Atienza stressed.
Nevertheless, Atienza lauded Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales for her anti-graft campaign against senators, congressmen and other elected public officials who may have allegedly mishandled the use of their pork barrel funds.
“But they should investigate everything, including drugs because this is the country’s biggest problem nowadays,” Atienza complained.
Garbin, a lawyer, said Carpio-Morales should conduct a motu proprio investigation to help curb the drug menace and ensure that public officials who may have been involved in the nefarious trade will face justice.
“Being a constitutional body and a watchdog (Ombudsman) na tumitingin sa accountable public officials natin, dapat kumilos rin sila motu proprio even without a benefit of a complaint from somebody. The Ombudsman should conduct the probe immediately given the magnitude of the drug problem. Dapat lahat at hindi lamang graft and corruption,” said Garbin.
Early this month, Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr. was killed in a “firefight” after allegedly resisting arrest at the Baybay, Leyte Sub-Provincial Jail.
It was learned that the Office of the Ombudsman has yet to conduct a fact-finding probe surrounding the possible involvement of public officials, including police officers on the incident.