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Only Duterte can clear names of ‘narco-politicians’: PDEA

Only President Rodrigo R. Duterte can confirm if the names of the mayors he previously tagged as ‘narco-politicians’ are no longer on the list, the regional director of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency in Western Visayas (PDEA-6) said Wednesday.

PDEA 6 Regional Director Wardley Getalla, in an interview, said they will only consider if the President himself will clear them.

“At our level, we have no guidance or mandate to clear those in the drug list of the President,” he said.

The President did not only rely on the list of PDEA but he has “multi-sources,” he added.

He said they have not monitored any involvement of the mayors in any illegal drugs activities.

It can be recalled that three mayors in Iloilo province were tagged by President Duterte as “narco-politicians”. They are Mariano Malones of Maasin, Sigfredo Betita of Carles, and Alex Centena of Calinog.

A total of 4,000 local officials in the third district of Iloilo, including Malones and Carles, took their oath before the ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipinoo-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) last January 18. Betita was present but did not take his oath.

PDP secretary-general and House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, who administered the oath, said in a previous interview that he “took their (Malones and Centena’s) words when they said that they are not involved in illegal drugs.”

He also said he would check his copy of the list for the names of the two mayors.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr., in his press conference in this city on January 28, said joining the party does not mean the mayors are already cleared.

Cindy Ferrer / PNA