Today's Punto
Today's Punto
Opinion
That narco muck
By Bong Lacson

Nov 14, 2017

WORLD’S 8th Best Mayor in 2012.

President, League of Cities of the Philippines.

Chairman, Central Luzon Regional Development Council. Human rights lawyer.

Narco-politician…

No simple incongruity there but absolutely wrong entry in a resumé as solid as Mayor Edgardo Pamintuan’s.

Hence, hizzoner’s vehement denial of any link in the illegal drug trade that was the basis of the National Police Commission’s order stripping him of his police powers last week, along with two dozen other mayors and a governor.

“It is an utterly absurd charge, and I challenge the Napolcom to immediately file charges against me if it has an iota of evidence that I am involved in drugs.” So Pamintuan dared Napolcom.

Furthered he: “Even as I challenge the Napolcom to walk it’s talk and file charges against me instead of just maligning me, I call on the agency to be cautious and more circumspect in pointing at anybody supposedly into illegal drug trade, without evidence.”

And spewed: “Napolcom is an investigative body, it should know the law.”

Vintage the activist Ka Gatdu there.

And – to me, not necessarily with but standing by him – Pamintuan should have stopped there, having already raised the standard of due process.  The burden of proof laid upon the Napolcom, with the imperative of justice – to Pamintuan, et al, serving officials as they are – now all too compelling, if only for the sake of their constituents, if not for their very honor.

Especially as the suspension of the mayors’ supervision over the police was – in the words of Central Luzon police director Chief Supt.  Amador Corpus – “because of their alleged involvement in illegal activities which constitute acts inimical to national security or negate the eff ectiveness of peace and order in the country.”

Biruin mo ikaw ang pangulo ng League of Cities tapos ikaw pa ang masasama diyan. Ako ang tagadala ng polisiya, gusto ko we follow the policy of the President, anti-drugs tapos bigla na lang na ganyan.” Lamentation that cuts to the very core of Pamintuan’s political being. And I – standing by him – cannot but feel him.

He should have stopped there. But he could not have helped invoking his patron. For effect – “I have met and talked with President Duterte in many occasions, the latest was about two weeks ago in Malacañang. Knowing him, he would have told me straight on the face if I were in his list of local officials supposedly into drugs, like he did to other mayors linked to drugs,” Pamintuan underscored in a radio interview, saying that he would seek an audience with the President after the ASEAN summit to clear his name.

In vain

Pamintuan may have taken the name of the President in vain there.

In a press statement, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency clarified that the Napolcom resolution was eff ected by an interagency intelligence task force composed of the Philippine National Police Directorate for Intelligence, the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency and PDEA.

Created in January 2017 through a directive from the National Security Council, the task force vets, validates and updates the list – originally disclosed by the President in September 2016 – on a monthly basis which is submitted to the Office of the President by PDEA as the task force secretariat.

PDEA said it was in September 2017 that this list of Pamintuan et al came out with the DILG comparing “Duterte’s list with the updated list prepared by the Inter-Agency Validation Task Force.”

It would appear that at Pamintuan’s meeting with Duterte “two weeks ago,” the President had already received the list with his name. Why, the set of Napolcom resolutions were dated Oct. 30 – precisely around that time of the meeting. See some interesting story there?

Of the Napolcom resolution, PDEA chief Aaron Aquino was quoted thus: “Undeniably, illegal drugs have contaminated the bureaucracy. The data shows a continuous involvement of government officials and employees in the drug trade.”

Malignant with speculation now, but ace police reporter Jess Malabanan of Interaksyon 5 was quick to point out that it was at the time of Aquino as director of Central Luzon Police Office-3 that three shabu laboratories were raided in Angeles City. Not so veiled an inference there of Aquino knowing full well what he was saying.

SupportED

As SunStar Pampanga bannered and iorbitnews.com trended, Pamintuan has been avalanched with support from his constituents, both individually and by sector.

The city council has dutifully, if not loyally, issued a statement of support to Pamintuan, stressing how they “have witnessed Pamintuan’s efforts in support of the Duterte administration’s fight against corruption, criminality, and the use, abuse and proliferation of illegal drugs.”

And pledged their “unconditional support” to their mayor on account of his “anti-drug programs and policies that are contradictory to the claim that he is involved in illegal drugs.”

To reiterate, I stand with Pamintuan.

It is just that I believe his redemption from this maculation of his character can only come through the judicial process. Not on Duterte’s say-so. Not even by presidential fiat. No, Duterte – his legions of believers notwithstanding – is no Christ who can transform a Simon into a Peter.

Facebook may even break from the #IamwithEdPam uploads of his supporters but still the muck smacked on his character by the Napolcom resolution won’t wash away.

Pamintuan may take heed of the US president that he so often quoted in the past – the Great Emancipator, with this gem: “I do the very best I can, I mean to keep going. If the end brings me out all right, then what is said against me won’t matter. If I’m wrong, ten angels swearing I was right won’t make a diff erence.”

Get your day in court and bring yourself out right, Sir.




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