NAGUILIAN, La Union- The town mayor here who was singled out last Saturday by President Duterte as a high value target in the administration’s campaign against the illegal drug trade expressed fears for his personal safety as his case and that of all other “narco-politicians” and persons in the drugs list were placed from police to military supervision.
Mayor Reynaldo Flores said that he was surprised after an alleged validation of listed “narco-politicians” was released anew and that he claimed he was being singled out even when there is already an ongoing investigation of his case by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, Criminal Investigation and Detection Group and the Philippine National Police.
“When my name was first mentioned, I complied and went to these agencies and all the while, I thought the investigation is going well but last Saturday, my name was mentioned again out of 1000 ‘narco-politicians and judges and I was the only one being singled out,” Flores said.
Earlier, Flores denied the accusation of former La Union Second District Representative Thomas “Butch” Dumpit, Jr., a former military man, linking him to the illegal drugs activity. He noted that that two of Dumpit’s alleged associates also belonged to the military.
Flores said he was afraid this would complicate the outcome of the investigation after Duterte, in a speech before troops of the 5th Infantry Division in Gamu, Isabela, announced that the cases of the “narco-politicians” and other drug-listed personalities would be under military supervision.
The three former military men belonged to one political party during the 2013 elections. Dumpit and Flores were former political allies but parted ways and Flores campaigned for his (Dumpit) opponents.
Meanwhile, in a text message to this reporter, Dumpit, who was in Manila last Monday morning, said that “Pres. Duterte finally affirmed after validation that Mayor Reynaldo Flores of Naguilian, La Union is not only a shabu lab protector but considered a High Value Target, meaning, he is also a major player in the drug trade in the province. I advise him to help the government and tell what he knows especially the big fish,”
Flores, however, thanked Duterte for mentioning his name, which, he said, could stress that “there is really a need to re-open the case to reveal the real people behind the establishment and operation of the shabu laboratory.”
“There is a Divine intervention and that every time my name is mentioned, the Bimmotobot case comes up,” he said.
Flores said that his name was being mentioned because intelligence reports fed to Duterte linked him as the alleged mastermind in the discovery of the shabu factory in Barangay Bimmotobot, which authorities raided in July 2008.
Flores said he even submitted an affidavit to clear his name in court, and that a witness identified the protector of the shabu laboratory, Supt. Dionicio Borromeo, who was convicted and imposed a 17-year imprisonment.
However, Flores said that Borromeo should not have been the only person punished because, he said, there are many more prominent personalities involved in the operation of the illegal facility, “who are off the hook and are free roaming around.”
As of Monday, strict security was being enforced for the safety of Flores as his personal security guards were deployed at the entrance gates of the Naguilian Municipal Hall.
It was learned that Flores’ police escorts were recalled after Duterte tagged him twice as a high value target. William Jun Garcia/northboundasia.com