TALISAY CITY, Negros Occidental – Former Bacolod City councilor Ricardo “Cano” Tan, who has been cleared of any complicity, has thanked President Rodrigo Duterte for directing authorities to validate the allegations linking him to illegal drugs.
“I am thankful to our President and also to the concerned government agencies for their help in making the truth come out,” Tan said in a press conference held at their family-owned Campuestohan Highland Resort here on Sunday afternoon.
Tan, a businessman who was elected councilor of Bacolod for several terms, appeared before the local media for the first time in more than two years.
In January 2019, Duterte linked him to the illegal drug trade in a speech before an audience in Bacolod and tagged him as a drug lord before the media in Manila.
Tan furnished reporters copies of the clearance/certification he obtained from the Police Regional Office-Western Visayas on Aug. 20, 2020, “clearing (his) name and that of (his) family from any links or participation to alleged illegal drug trade activities”.
“(P)lease be informed that as per report from the concerned offices under my jurisdiction, the information allegedly linking you and your family in the illegal drug trade has not been substantiated by a concrete evidence as of this date,” the document issued by then police regional director Brig. Gen. Rene Pamuspusan stated.
Tan said during one of the President’s visits to Bacolod, his wife Anita and son Ralph met with him, after which Duterte told the concerned government agencies that “all accusations against me should be validated and revalidated”.
Andre Norman Saril, Tan’s legal counsel, said that the entire validation and revalidation process “was no joke” as it involved the Philippine National Police and its Drug Enforcement Group, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippine Army, and National Bureau of Investigation.
“All these government agencies keep up with the results, showing that there are really no ties linking my client to illegal activities,” he said.
“What really happened in the case of Mr. Tan was, it showed that contrary to our erroneous belief or notion, our good President would always entitle or give innocent persons a chance to prove themselves. It was (the President) himself who ordered the validation and revalidation,” Saril added.
He said that because of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) community quarantine restrictions, it took them some time to publicly present the clearance obtained by Tan.
The former official said although the President had accused him of links to illegal drugs, Duterte himself also allowed him to clear his name.
“In his desire to give justice to my family, he asked the law enforcement agencies to validate and revalidate any information about me. After a thorough investigation, I have been cleared by various government agencies….To be honest with you, I don’t have ill feelings towards the President. My feelings are hurt by the people who intentionally destroyed me. I thank the President, that he has given me the chance to be vindicated,” he said.
Tan, who lived away from his family for more than a year a half while facing the accusations against him, said that he is “not a drug lord and never had been a drug lord”, and was just “a victim of fake news” as well of intrigues, lies, and deception.
He did not identify the persons out to destroy him but recalled that in 2018, a media personality had first accused him of maintaining a drug laboratory in his resort.
Tan said he has already forgiven those who wronged him and leave them all to God.
“I know how painful it is to be wrongfully accused…But God works in mysterious ways, and through his mantle of protection and divine guidance, today, I am happy to say that I have made it through the storm. I am now happy to go back to my normal life,” he added. (PNA)