BAUANG, La Union – Thousands of residents held a ‘unity walk’ yesterday in support of Mayor Martin De Guzman who was named by President Duterte as among the four alleged narco-politicians from the province.
Before marching around the town, barangay folks, non-government organizations, religious groups, municipal officials and employees attended a mass at the Saints Peter and Paul Church.
“We believe that wrong information was fed to the President. Mayor de Guzman is innocent and he is not involved in illegal drug activities,” said Doni Baradi, president of the Bauang Market Vendors Association.
De Guzman said that he and his family are deeply saddened by the President’s announcement saying that his conscience is clear.
“The people of Bauang and the province of La Union as a whole, knows me well, my personality and my family background. I want to clear my
name. The truth should come out so we will know what the reality about this matter,” De Guzman said.
De Guzman, along with Mayor Reynaldo Flores of Naquilian town, Dante Garcia of Tubao and former 2nd District Representative Eufranio
Eriguel are included on the list.
In Agoo town, more than 1,500 supporters of Eriguel braved the rains to attend the unity walk where some residents of nearby towns also joined the event to vouch for Eriguel’s innocence against illegal drug trade.
“It is a celebration of oneness for Congressman Eriguel, a manifestation of our support for him through this ‘unity umbrella walk’,” Dong Magpili, information officer of the local government unit, said.
“The attack is not only against him but also on the people of Agoo,” Mapili said.
Eriguel denied any involvement in illegal drugs, saying that he supported the eradication of drugs in his district during his term.
Mayor Garcia, for his part, vehemently denied any involvement in illegal drug activities.
“I have never sold illegal drugs or protected anyone from this illegal activity. I may be suspected of coddling Salvador Marzan alias Amang who is in the regional drug watch list and who is from Tubao.
Manila agents of the National Bureau of Investigation the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, acting on information I provided them, raided the house of Marzan, but he escaped arrest,” Garcia said.
“I am open for any investigation because my conscience is clear,” Garcia said.
It was learned that Naguilian residents will also stage a ‘peace rally’ on Monday in support of Flores, who earlier denied the accusation against him. JUN ELIAS/northboundasia.com