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Candidates warned against using drug money

As more candidates filed their certificates of candidacy for 2022 polls, Philippine National Police chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar warned in a statement on Saturday that he will expose politicians colluding with illegal drugs syndicates to boost their winnability.

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 said the anti-drug operatives have arrested 390 elected officials and 498 government officials.

More than P64 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 P200,000 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 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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