Barangay execs to face drug probe

ASIDE from mayors, the Duterte administration will also investigate barangay officials in areas where the illegal drugs trade has flourished, Malacañang said on Tuesday. A memorandum was being drafted to pave the way for the investigation of mayors and barangay captains in places with a high number of drug-related incidents, according to presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella. They may be investigated for “serious neglect of duty,” Abella said in a press briefing.

The Department of Interior and Local Government would handle the inquiry, he said. “They will go through their own due process,” he added. Asked why barangay captains would be included in the probe, he said the drug incidents usually took place at the barangay level. “It’s basically area management. If this is your area, that’s your area of responsibility,” he said. President Duterte earlier said there were a lot of mayors among those involved in the illegal drug trade in the country, some of them suspected top drug leaders and protectors in the country.

Asked when Mr. Duterte would name the mayors, Abella said there were other issues being attended to at the moment, but it could happen in time. Recently, the President named five active and retired police officials as suspected drug lord protectors and ordered them investigated. He also identified three drug lords operating in the country, two of them allegedly leading the trade from inside the New Bilibid Prison. As for the huge number of alleged drug users surrendering to authorities, Abella said the administration is planning to put up regional rehabilitation centers.

The government was also open to accepting help from members of the private sector who want to help in the (rehabilitation) effort, he said. “The President also welcomes efforts by other groups that would help the rehabilitation of the surrenderors,” he said. The administration’s intensified campaign against illegal drugs has prompted users and dealers to surrender to authorities, for fear of being jailed or killed.


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