LINGAYEN, Pangasinan — The Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) rallied behind former Pangasinan Governor Amado T. Espino, Jr., now Congressman of the 5th district of Pangasinan, Board Member Raul Sison, and former Provincial Administrator Rafael Baraan whose names were included in the alleged New Bilibid Prison (NBP) ‘drug matrix’ released by President Rodrigo Duterte Thursday.
In a special session on Friday (Aug. 26), the SP passed Provincial Resolutions Nos. 114, 115 and 116 – 2016, all expressing full faith, trust and confidence on the integrity and competence of the prominent sons of Pangasinan, who were included in the ‘drug matrix’, along with former Justice Secretary now Senator Leila de Lima and Justice Undersecretary Francisco Baraan III and former Bureau of Correctional Director Franklin Bucayo, former Region 1 police director.
Maintaining its full-support to Espino, the SP recalled that during former’s nine years of good governance as provincial chief executive, “There is no iota of doubt that he had been involved in such an illegal drug trade operation inside and even outside the political jurisdiction of the province.”
Provincial Resolution No. 114-2016 states: “The SP is of firm belief that any insinuation on Rep. Espino’s involvement in the NBP drug matrix would not at all affect his integrity as former governor of Pangasinan and his competence in the performance of his duties and responsibilities as 5th district representative.”
Evident with Espino’s relentless war against illegal drugs, he authored the monumental piece of legislation – Republic Act No. 9165, or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, when he was a congressman a decade ago, the resolution further stated.
Saddened by the alleged involvement of one of its colleagues (Board Member Raul Sison) to the illegal drug trade, the SP put on record that the august body had been a witness to the political career of Sison who had not been tainted with any controversy.
Sison joined the provincial board first as representative of the Pangasinan Councilors’ League and now he is completing his third and last term as second district board member.
SP members have also expressed full trust and confidence to former Provincial Administrator Baraan who served under the terms of the former governor, attesting that the former provincial official performed his job in good faith and not in any manner of self-service.
“The 6th to 8th SP including the present 9th have found an ally with the former provincial administrator for he has been cooperative, approachable and of great assistance to its legislative works, endeavors and concerns,” Provincial Resolution No. 116-2016 reads.
Rep. Espino denied at noon of August 25, a few hours after the matrix was made public, his alleged involvement in the NBP drug activity which the matrix purported to show.
In a talk to mediamen, Espino said he had never been associated with Sen. de Lima, pointing out that the former Justice Secretary was even instrumental in pursuing the investigation of a fabricated murder case against him at the height of the campaign period in the 2013 mid-term elections.
Espino said the drug issues hurled against him disregard the fact that he devoted his military and police service and his career as a politician being a former congressman and governor in seriously pushing for the eradication of illegal drugs. PNA/northboundasia.com