ANGELES CITY – The President of the League of City Mayors of the Philippines (LCP) has been stripped of his control and supervision over local police by the National Police Commission for alleged involvement in illegal drugs, which he denies and calls an “absurd charge.”
Reached for comment, Mayor Edgardo Pamintuan protested his inclusion in the list of alleged narco-politicians, including 18 mayors and a governor.
“It is an utterly absurd charge, and I challenge the Napolcom to immediately file charges against me if it has an iota of evidence that I am involved in drugs,” Pamintuan said Thursday.
“I have met and talked with President Duterte in many occasions, the latest was about two weeks ago in Malacañang. Knowing him, he would have told me straight in [my] face if I were on his list of local officials supposedly into drugs, like he did to other mayors linked to drugs,” Pamintuan said.
Pamintuan – whose long record in public service was capped by an award in 2016 as one of the “world’s best mayors”, said the Napolcom not only damaged his reputation and that of his city, but also put him in danger. At least two mayors in the President’s drug list were earlier killed in alleged police encounters.
Two Tarlac mayors were also included in the Napolcom’s list: Concepcion town’s Andres Lacson and Camiling town’s Erlon Aggustin.
Mayor Jefferson Khonghun of Subic, Zambales was also mentioned in the list.
Napolcom has already served the orders on the officials’ respective offices.
The Napolcom had said earlier its narco-list underwent validation by the intelligence agencies concerned.
Pamintuan challenged the Napolcom to “file charges against me instead of just maligning me. I call on the agency to be cautious and more circumspect in pointing at anybody supposedly into the illegal drug trade, without evidence.”
The mayor noted that “Napolcom is an investigative body,” adding, that as such, “it should know the law.”
As president of the mayors’ league, Pamintuan said that just recently, he in fact personally submitted to the President an accomplishment report of LCP members detailing their anti-drug programs.
The President would have told him directly if he were indeed suspected of involvement in illegal drugs, when he turned in that report, Pamaintuan pointed out.
He said that he will again seek an audience with the President after the ASEAN summit in order to clear his name.