Concepcion, Tarlac – – Hustisya para kay mayor, mali ang akusasyon ng NAPOLCOM.
These were some among the words shouted by the town folks who filled the municipal plaza in protest of the National Police Commission’s (NAPOLCOM) order against Mayor Andy Lacson.
This came as the support to the “beleaguered” mayor by other local leaders snowballs.
The NAPOLCOM recently issued a resolution tagging Lacson, along with the mayors of Angeles City, Subic, Zambales and Camiling, Tarlac, of involvement in illegal drugs and were stripped of their supervisory power over the local police.
The October 30 NAPOLCOM resolution received by Lacson’s office Friday morning, says, “the (four) local executives have been identified as engaged in illegal drugs and hereby resolved to withdraw the deputation of Mayor Andy Lacson (and 3 other mayors) as NAPOLCOM representative”.
Under the law, the NAPOLCOM, being the organization directly supervising the PNP, deputize municipal mayors to exercise supervisory control over local police force.
A big lie.
Sought for comment, Moncada town Mayor Lita Aquino who is head of the League of Municipal Mayors of Tarlac said, “It’s a big lie. We solidly stand behind him and mayor Erlon (Agustin of Camiling). We (personally) know them as God-loving and God fearing people (and) of good moral character”.
For his part, San Manuel Mayor Benjamin Tesoro said, “The allegation is very damaging to a very decent man who is too fragile to be involved in such a dirty trade (drugs). I don’t belive (the report). Never.”
“We know him as a very decent person, principled, honest and strongly against drugs. We cannot believe he is into drugs. What is their basis in accusing him?”, said Father Mon Capuno, head of the Parish Pastoral Council of this town.
“Kilala namin siya mula bata pa siya. Alam namin na hindi siya gumamit, lalo na nagbenta, ng ano mang droga. Galit nag alit siya sa droga kaya walang basehan ang kanilang paratang”, said Barangay Sta. Rita Chairwoman Lydia Sampang.
The NAPOLCOM resolution, which was signed by DILG secretary Catalino Cuy, Atty Rogelio Casurao and 4 other commissioners including PNP chief PDG Ronald Dela Rosa, accused Lacson of being “engaged in illegal drug trade/activity”.
During the jam-packed prayer rally held at this town’s cathedral, Lacson branded the NAPOLCOM order as baseless and malicious.
“Napaka-unfair ng (order ng) NAPOLCOM, wala pa man imbestigasyon inakusahan na akong involved sa ilegal na droga. Mali ang report ng NAPOLCOM. Dapat nilang malaman na ako pa mismo ang nangunguna sa mga drug tests na isinagawa namin sa munisipyo. Galit na galit ako sa droga at ni minsan sa buhay ko hindi ako tumikim niyan”, Lacson said.
“Hindi po ito pag-laban sa pamahalaan kundi pangangailangan lamang na linisin ang aking pangalan. Biktima (po) ako ng paninira. Hinahamon ko sila (NAPOLCOM) na magpunta dito at personal nilang i-validate ang report. Kung mayroon po silang mai-haharap sa akin na kahit isang tao lamang na magsasabing ako ay gumamit o may aktibitad sa droga, magre-resign ako. Dapat din nilang malaman na suportado ko ang kampanya ng gobyerno laban sa droga”, Added Lacson.
He also lamented that in his 22 years in public service, it was the first time that he was accused in illegal activities.
The 39-year Lacson started his political career at age 18 when he was elected Sangguniang Kabataan chairmen. He went to be elected as municipal councilor and became a 3-term vice mayor. He is now serving his second term as mayor.
Barely a couple of months ago, Lacson received a special commendation from the PDEA region 3 Director Ishmael Fajardo for his “support to the government’s campaign against illegal drugs”.
The PDEA commendation came after the local police arrested 3 barangay councilors and 2 municipal employees for their involvement in illegal drugs.
In an FB comment on the issue, Jonathan Manalao said, “(this is) the Philippines biggest fake news I’ve ever heard. Akusasyon na walang basehan. Walang patas na imbestigasyon. Yan ang batas meron ang pilipinas. Ganyan karumi at kadaya ang batas ng Pilipinas. Mga high-end drug lords di makulong- kulong di mapatay-patay kasama na si Baste Duterte anak ni (Presidente) Rodrigo Duterte. Napakalungkot isipin na ang butihing anak na matulunging tao, mahusay at matalinong alkalde ng aming bayan ay sinangkot sa drug trade ng mga taong inggit at gahaman sa kapangyarihan.
Sought for comment, Tarlac Police Provincial Director PSSupt Ritchie Posadas revealed that, “adjudication is (now) being conducted by the national agencies” on the issue raised against Lacson.
Adjudication is a police term which means “the charge or issue is being reinvestigated”.
Meanwhile, the Sangguniang Bayan (SB) headed by Vice Mayor Danilo David issued a Manifesto of Support.
Barangay Chairperson Evelyn Rivera revealed that the municipal Association of Barangay Chairmen also revealed that the 45 barangay councils of the town came out with their respective resolutions in support to Lacson.
In a separate interview, Rodrigo Mandapat, commented, “Ano ba ito, parang ‘yung pinabasa kay president (Rodrigo) Duterte na unang narco-list na kung saan yung isang judge na nakalista na actively involved sa droga ay matagal na palang patay? At ‘yung judge naman ay matagal na ring nagretire? Sinira nila ang reputasyon ni mayor, kailangan nilang itama ang maling akusasyon”.
More than 10,000 people attended the protest rally at the plaza which is claimed as the biggest “spontaneous rally” surpassing even the meeting de avance held during the last elections.
“Walang nag-invite sa kanila, walang program ang rally. Nagprepare lang ng sound system sa plaza pagkatapos ng mass sa simbahan. Very natural ang support ng lahat ng tao kay mayor. Ito ang pinakamalaking rally dito sa plaza, mas malaki sa mga meeting de avance at lahat galit sa ginawa ng NAPOLCOM. Walang naniniwala na sangkot sa droga si mayor”, said councilor Reggie Dizon./Nelson Bolos