TANAUAN City Mayor Antonio Halili yesterday strongly denied allegations of his alleged involvement in illegal drugs as he sought for an investigation of an intelligence report linking him to illegal drugs.
Halili decided to break his silence after he was stripped of police power by the National Police Commission (Napolcom) on the basis of what he described as raw intelligence report submitted by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA).
The mayor said the report was fabricated by those affected by his successful campaign against illegal drugs in Tanauan.
Aside from Halili, more than 20 local chief executives nationwide were also stripped of their administrative control over the local police based on a Napolcom resolution dated October 30.
The resolution was signed by Interior and Local Government OIC and Napolcom chairman Catalino Cuy, Napolcom vice chairman and executive officer Rogelio Casurao, and commissioners Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa, Felizardo Serapio Jr., Job Mangete, and Zenonida Brosas.
“I am ready to pay one million pesos to the police intelligence officer behind the alleged intelligence report linking me to illegal drugs and I will resign as mayor if the report can be supported by evidence,”a visibly irked Halili said during a media forum in Cafe Adriatico in Malate, Manila.
Based on the intelligence report, Halili and San Rafael, Bulacan Mayor Goto Violago allegedly conspired and planned to establish and expand illegal drug trade in Central Luzon and Batangas province.
In defending himself, Halili said he should have been exonerated by the DILG since Violago has already been cleared by the PNP over his alleged illegal drug connections, the reason why the San Rafael mayor’s name was not included in the October 30 Napolcom resolution.
Halili said he does not personally know Mayor Violago of San Rafael, Bulacan.
The embattled Tanauan City chief executive said he is willing to be grilled by anyone, including the media and the Napolcom, to prove his innocence against allegations he branded as politically-motivated.
Halili pointed to a senior PNP officer, whom he refused to identify at the moment, as the person behind the effort linking him to illegal drug trade in order to malign his name and eventually unseat him as mayor of Tanauan City.
The mayor said the “invented intelligence report” were grossly unfair and baseless, claiming that Marissa Canta Marasigan, the city’s local government officer (CLGO) and two former Tanauan City police chiefs, endorsed and supported all his programs and campaign against criminality, including illegal drugs.
Halili said as a result of his massive campaign against illegal drugs, many drug pushers shifted their illegal operations to Lipa City, where they were able to continue peddling illegal drugs.
Both former city police chiefs, Supt. Roberto Baesa, and his successor Supt. Audie Madrideo, were relieved of their posts for unknown reason after submitting reports indicating support to the anti-drug campaign of Halili.
Madrideo was sacked two weeks ago and replaced by Supt. Renato Mercado.
Halili launched an all out war against illegal drugs in the city when he assumed as first term city mayor in 2013. He initiated a localized “Tokhang” in 2013 by mobilizing and utilizing the city’s different Barangay Intelligence Network (BIN), gathering information on all suspected drug users and pushers operating within their respective barangays.
It was also Halili who initiated the controversial “walk of shame campaign,” wherein arrested drug users and pushers were paraded on the streets as part of the efforts to eradicate illegal drugs.
Amid complaints and investigations made by the Commission on Human Rights (CHR), Halili defended the walk of shame drive, stressing it is his way of informing the people of the city’s undesirables.
Several “walk of shame incidents” were recorded in the city from February 2014 to February 2017.
Madrideo noted that accomplishments in the campaign against illegal drugs could not have been achieved without Halili’s support, who had given additional funds and incentives to the local police for the conduct of more police operations against high profile drug personalities in Tanauan City.