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Arroyo moves vs ‘narco-politics’

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Amid reports LGU execs in cahoots with syndicates

By Joel Guinto
First Posted 18:22:00 01/21/2009

Filed Under: Illegal drugs, Government, Local authorities, Crime

MANILA, Philippines — President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has moved against narco-politics, ordering Interior Secretary Ronaldo Puno to ensure local government officials are attuned to her anti-narcotics drive, amid reports some of them could be in cahoots with drug syndicates, a top Malacañang official said.

Arroyo, who appointed herself “anti-illegal drug czar” last week, also ordered authorities to investigate reports that court workers have been tipping off drug suspects on search warrants issued against them, Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita said Wednesday.

During a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday afternoon, Arroyo ordered Puno to “remind them [local government officials] to be attuned to the policy of the administration, to be on hand in the fight against drug abuse.”

She cited reports some local government officials “may not be in conformity” with or are “indifferent” to her anti-illegal drugs campaign, Ermita said.

But Ermita explained that, while there have been reports of collusion between local officials and drug rings, these have not been verified.

“According to the President, the DILG [Department of Interior and Local Government] should come up with measures to bring them [local officials] to the campaign so there will be lesser suspicion that a few of them are reported to be in collusion with some people involved in drugs,” Ermita said.

Ermita quoted Arroyo as telling the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) during the Cabinet meeting: “Let us continue to update the listing of known drug lords, identify them and monitor their activities, monitor the drug havens alleged, and alleged trafficking of suspected personalities or suspected drug lords.”

“Of course, on the whole let us undertake real good intelligence. It’s better to know ahead so that specific measures can be undertaken,” Arroyo said, according to Ermita.

Ermita said Arroyo also ordered the fielding of more drug-sniffing dogs and for bomb-sniffing dogs to be trained to also detect illegal drugs.

Arroyo took charge of the campaign against illegal drugs following allegations that bribes had been offered to personnel of the Department of Justice (DoJ) and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) to drop charges against three high-profile drug suspects — Richard Brodett, Jorge Joseph, and Joseph Tecson..

The three allegedly supplied ecstasy and cocaine to upscale nightclubs in Metro Manila.

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Written by joelguinto

WedUTC2009-01-21T14:51:07+00:00UTC01bUTCWed, 21 Jan 2009 14:51:07 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 pm01

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