No Pampanga mayor involved in illegal drugs, says Gov. Pineda

MABALACAT CITY — “Not one of the mayors here in Pampanga is involved in illegal drugs,” according to Pampanga Governor Lilia Pineda
Pineda believes that no one among the city and municipality mayors here are implicated in narco-politics and ‘tanim droga’ (illegal drug planting) scheme.

“Metung man kareng mayor kening Pampanga alang involved keng illegal drugs,” Pineda asserted during the regular Provincial Peace and Order Council meeting held at Kingsborough Convention Center, City of San Fernando, on Wednesday.

This, after Bacolor and Mabalacat City police personnel were tagged by Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption Pampanga Coordinator (VACC-Pampanga) Pyra Lucas behinf the “tanim-droga” scheme. Lucas claimed that illegal drugs and firearms were planted as evidence against the alleged victims.

One of these alleged illegal drug users identified only as “Lando” turned out to be a relative of Lucas.

The Mabalacat City police said Lucas’ actions were politically motivated and baseless.

The Mabalacat Councilors who lodged 58 counts of libel against Lucas had described her as a “fake crusader.” Lucas was slapped with 58 counts of libel (14 counts by Vice Mayor Christian Halili and four counts each by the 11 councilors) for labeling the city officials led by Mayor Marino Morales as protectors of drug pushers.

Lucas, a losing mayoralty candidate in 2016 local elections, was declared ‘persona non grata’ or unacceptable person through a resolution passed by the Sangguniang Panlungsod in 2016.

Regional Director General Aaron Aquino said the complainants have surrendered and have tested positive on the use of ‘shabu’.

“I do not know where that issue came from or how it was invented, but, definitely, I can say that there is no ‘tanim droga’ in Central Luzon,” Aquino said.
However, Mabalacat Police Chief Juritz Rara and Drug Enforcement Unit Head Senior Inspector Melvin Florida were relieved from their posts while the investigation is ongoing.

Morales has thrown his support to the two beleaguered Mabalacat PNP officers. “Maniwala ku at susuportan kula ri Chief of Police Juritz Rara at Senior Inspector Melvin Florida Jr. keng karelang obra laban keng drugs at emi paniwalan na atin tanim droga keni siyudad,” Morales exclaimed.

“We are number one in Pampanga when it comes to accomplishments on illegal drugs at pasalamat ku ini kareng kekatamung kapulisan,” Morales said.
At least 18 out of the 27 barangays in the city are now drug-free and are subject for re-validation by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA).
The Mabalacat police arrested 116 drug users and 181 pushers in the city from September 12, 2016 to April 26, 2017.

From July 1, 2016 up to May 12, 2017, police reports stated 177 operations were conducted wherein 378 were arrested and four were neutralized.

This also resulted to arrest of eight out of the top 10 drug personalities in Mabalacat City. The arrested were Mark Solomon (2nd most wanted), Antonio Patawaran (3rd), Aris Muldong (5th), Angelito Rivera (6th), Macromar Cruz (7th), Olivia Waje (8th), Jayson Waje (9th) and Rosella Fajardo (10th).

The Reformation Center dubbed as ‘Bahay Pagbabago’ manned by the police authorities have produced 60 graduates and are now non-dependent with drugs.
The reformists have undergone one-month rehabilitation through the support of the city government. They were provided with free of charge meals, livelihood training skills, and physical, psychological and spiritual development program.

Rara has also reported that crime volume in Mabalacat City has decreased by 23 percent based on the comprehensive crime report in the 3rd quarter of 2016.The police report indicated that from July to September 2016, only 386 (56.39%) incidents of crime had been reported compared to the 544 (79.48%) posted in the same period last year.

Continuous visitations are being conducted to monitor the drug situation in all 27 barangays.

City officials and more than 400 employees here have also took surprise drug testing in accordance with the Civil Service Commission’s resolution for a drug-free workplace.

Earlier, the City Government has passed a resolution commending the Mabalacat City police on their landmark accomplishments on anti-criminality and anti-illegal drugs campaign.

Morales and the city officials have reaffirmed their support to President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and Governor Pineda in the fight against illegal drugs.