May 2022 candidates warned against using drug money

May 2022 candidates warned against using drug money

MANILA – As more candidates filed their certificates of candidacy (COCs) for 2022 polls, Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar warned that he will expose politicians colluding with illegal drugs syndicates to boost their winnability.

Binabalaan ko ang mga kandidato na huwag mamuhunan sa mga illegal na droga sa kanilang kandidatura dahil kami mismo ang mag-i-expose sa inyo at magsasampa ng disqualification case at kaukulan kaso kapag nakakalap kami ng sapat na ebidensya laban sa inyo (I warn candidates not to invest in illegal drugs because we will expose you and file a disqualification case and relevant case once we have gathered enough evidence against you),” Eleazar said in a statement on Saturday.

Eleazar said he will not allow all the sacrifices of the PNP in the government’s aggressive campaign against illegal drugs go to waste.

Since President Rodrigo Roa Duterte launched his administration’s relentless drive against illegal drugs in 2016, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) said the anti-drug operatives have arrested 390 elected officials and 498 government officials.

More than PHP64 billion worth of shabu were seized while 307,521 illegal drugs personalities, including 13,244 High-Value Targets, were also arrested from July 1, 2016 to Aug. 31, 2021, according to the PDEA’s latest data.

Eleazar said some locally elected officials were arrested in the past for their involvement in illegal drugs.

He cited as example the case of a mayor in Quezon province who was arrested in 2001 for transporting almost 500 kilos of shabu using an ambulance and a former Maguindanao town mayor who was arrested with a cache of firearms and more than PHP200,000 worth of illegal drugs in June this year.

“Illegal drugs operation is a lucrative business, and we are not discounting the possibility that either some erring candidates would use this for fund raising or the drug syndicates would offer campaign donations in exchange for protection once they are elected,” he said.

Eleazar said he ordered the PNP Drug Enforcement Group and Intelligence Group to monitor politicians asking drug syndicates finance their candidacy.

Adherence to health protocols

Meanwhile, Eleazar reiterated his appeal to candidates to take the lead in strictly following the minimum public health protocols in filing their COCs.

He said aspirants in next year’s elections should serve as the role models of discipline and in following the health protocols, especially for their supporters amid the prevailing threat of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19).

Eleazar said the first two days of filing of COC was peaceful and orderly.

He said Permit to Carry Firearms Outside Residence (PTCFOR) will remain suspended until the end of the filing of COC on Oct. 8 to prevent firearms-related violence. (PNA)

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