Palace: Mayors, barangay captains may face probe for failure to solve illegal drugs

MANILA –- Malacañang on Tuesday said mayors and barangay captains in places with high incidence of illegal drugs may face investigation for “serious neglect of duty.”

In a media briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said a proposed memorandum to mayors and barangays regarding the campaign versus illegal drugs was discussed during the Cabinet meeting held last Monday in Malacañang.

”A proposed memorandum to barangay captains and mayors of places with high incidence of drugs that they may be investigated for serious neglect of duty if found to have neglected their tasks,” Abella told the media.

He explained that barangay captains have been included in the memorandum since usually drug-related activities happen at the barangay level.

”The incidence usually happens in the barangay level, so in order to be able to determine, it’s basically area management. If this is you area, that’s you area of responsibility,” Abella said.

Abella said whether or not to arm the barangay tanods (village police) was not discussed during the Cabinet meeting.

”The memorandum is now being processed,” Abella said.

He said the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) will be tasked to conduct the investigation if there is neglect of duty among the local government leaders in stopping illegal drugs.

According to the Palace spokesperson, the plans to set up regional rehabilitation centers for rehabilitation of drug users have also been discussed during the Cabinet meeting attended for the first time by Vice President Leni Robredo.

Amid the strengthened campaign against illegal drugs of the government, thousands of drug pushers and users have already surrendered to the authorities almost in every part of the country.

As promised by President Rodrigo Duterte, Abella said the names of the mayors and other four generals allegedly linked to illegal drugs will be identified “in time.”

”It’s (drug problem) is very complex and we want to reduce it as much as we can,” Abella said.

Recently, Pres. Duterte named the five police generals who allegedly coddled drug syndicates that led to the proliferation of the illegal drugs.

The first five police officials named by the President include former Region 6 Director Chief Supt. Bernardo Diaz; former National Capital Region Police Office director Chief Supt. Joel Pagdilao; former Quezon City Police Director Chief Supt. Edgardo Tinio, former Police Chief Supt. General Vicente Loot who is now mayor of Daanbantayan, Cebu, and former Deputy Director General Marcelo Garbo.

They will be investigated by the National Police Commission as directed by President Duterte. Jelly Musico/PNA/