SUBIC, Zambales – “This is local politics at its finest. The list is not even verified. We will go to the distance to clear our name. I deserve justice. They should do a deeper investigation.”
These were the strong words uttered by municipal mayor Jefferson F. Khonghun during a press conference last Saturday at his office regarding his alleged involvement in the proliferation of drugs in his town.
Khonghun was reacting to the news about the 25 local chief executives, including 18 town mayors, suspected of involvement in the illegal drugs trade have been stripped of their power over the police.
In a statement, Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) officer-in-charge Catalino Cuy said the National Police Commission (Napolcom) revoked the police power of a governor from Zamboanga Peninsula (Region 9) and 24 mayors from different regions.
“Maraming kami noong ipinasang names sa PNP at DILG na sangkot sa droga dito sa aming bayan pero wala pang 10% ang nahuli. 5 times kinuha ang list sa amin,” the third-termer mayor lamented.
Khonghun also reminded all the journalists present in the news briefing that way back in August 2016, Subic local police was awarded “No.1 in the implementation of PNP Anti-Illegal Drugs Campaign Plan ‘Oplan Double Barrel’ MPS Class B level.”
The award was given by no less than the former Central Luzon Police Director, Chief Supt. Aaron Aquino. Aquino is now the chief of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency.
“Nasa ikatlo at huling termino na ako bilang mayor. Simula nang mapabalita ang pagtakbo ko sa mataas na posisyon sa susunod na eleksyon kabila kabila na ang paninira sa amin,” forty-year old Khonghun said.
Even on weekends, the municipal hall here is being visited by residents even from other towns particularly indigents mostly asking for medical and financial assistance from the mayor’s office.
When asked by the media who are responsible for the negative issues against their family, the mayor declined to name names. –Photos and text by Mhike R. Cigaral