Jalosjos questions removal of Zamboanga mayor Janihim from narco-list

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DIPOLOG CITY, Zamboanga del Norte–A lawmaker in this province has questioned the Provincial Anti-Drug Abuse Council’s (PADAC) support for the delisting of Sirawai Mayor Gamar Janihim from President Rodrigo Duterte’s narco list.

“My conscience pushed me that I have to question the police and PDEA (Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency) if this has gone through thorough intelligence and verification processes,” 1st district Rep. Seth Frederick Jalosjos told the Philippine News Agency in an interview on Friday.

Jalosjos said the basis for any move to change the President’s list must be honest, pointing out Duterte’s consistent call to local government officials to address criminality in their areas, in particular the illegal drug problem–or resign.

President Duterte, during his visit to Molave, Zamboanga del Sur on Tuesday (June 26), lamented the unabated criminality and told local government officials to do their part because he cannot do it alone.

Last week the PADAC passed a resolution supporting Sirawai Municipality Anti-Drug Abuse Council’s (MADAC) Resolution 2018-001, which declared that the “Honorable Gamar A. Janihim has not engaged in any form of illegal drug activity in the municipality of Sirawai, Zamboanga del Norte, or elsewhere.”

The resolution requested that Janihim be delisted “from President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s (PPRD) list of illegal drug personalities.”

Sirawai Municipal Administrator Felixberto Delasas read the Sirawai MADAC resolution during the PADAC meeting, which was presided by Zamboanga del Norte Executive assistant IV Praxides Rubia, the PADAC focal person.

Lt. Col. Billy Dela Rosa, commander of the Army’s 5th Infantry Battalion, moved for the passage of the resolution.

Of PADAC’s 22 members, including the PDEA and the Zamboanga del Norte Provincial Police Office (ZNPPO), only 11 were present and voted to support the resolution expressing support for Janihim.

The PADAC resolution was signed by Zamboanga del Norte Governor Roberto Uy on June 20, and would be forwarded to the Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC) “for appropriate action.”

However, a high-ranking PDEA officer told PNA the passing of the resolution was irregular because “in the first place, MADAC or PADAC cannot declare anybody to be not involved in any illegal activity except the court, and (Janihim) is not yet facing court charges even.”

Besides, the PDEA officer added that he is not aware of any involvement of their agency to delist Janihim “because the listing of the Sirawai mayor did not come from us.” The PDEA officer spoke on condition of anonymity because he lacked clearance to speak on the matter to the media.

But PDEA-Zamboanga del Norte Head Agent Maria Felina Bacha-Abendan said in an interview that she sent a representative to attend the PADAC meeting.

Told that her representative’s failure to object the move is tantamount to PDEA-Zamboanga del Norte’s approval of the PADAC resolution, Abendan refused to issue further statement, saying she has yet to get permission from her Regional Director to give media statements.

The PNA twice tried but failed to get the side of ZNPPO provincial director Senior Supt. Michael Macapagal. (PNA)