The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) disclosed on Friday there are six still unnamed officials from the Palawan who they have identified as “high value targets” (HVT) in the government’s campaign against illegal drugs.
PDEA regional director Mario Ramos, MIMAROPA regional director said in a press conference that their agents are validating their information. He did not identify the politicians but said these include barangay officials and high-ranking political personalities.
“Meron tayong anim na bina-validate, ranging from barangay to high officials,” Ramos said.
The PDEA’s pronouncement follows an earlier list released last November 9 by the National Police Commission (Napolcom) which included El Nido mayor Nieves Rosento and Bataraza mayor Abraham Ibba as among those in the national list of so-called “narco-politicians.”
PDEA Director General Aaron Aquino, who also spoke in the press conference, denied speculations the inclusion of certain politicians in the list was influenced by powerful local officials.
“Sinisigurado ko. Hanggang ako ang director ng PDEA walang sino mang politiko ang puwedeng mag-kontrol o mag-dictate sa amin,” Aquino said.
With Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte recently restoring to the Philippine National Police (PNP) the task of spearheading the anti-illegal drugs war, Aquino said they will be able to focus instead on their HVT list. He also said they are planning to create sub-offices in each municipality.
“We will create sub-offices on all municipalities including branches in all 1,200 private ports in the country who are being used as access to drug smuggling,” Aquino said.