Cebu News

Action vs execs linked to drugs: DILG-7 to depend on Palace decision

May B. Miasco - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines - The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) in Central Visayas will not take action on current and former government officials included in the list of President Rodrigo Duterte for alleged links to the drug trade unless there is a specific instruction from the President.

"For San Fernando, we are still waiting for the advice of (Interior and Local Government) Secretary Ismael Sueno. He will have to act on that. Let's just wait. It's better for us to wait so as not to preempt his decision," said DILG-7 Director Atty. Rene Burdeos.

Duterte's list of 150 names includes San Fernando Vice Mayor Fralz Sabalones.

Sabalones denied the allegations and even went to the police station yesterday to clear his name. He said he was never charged of any crime nor faced any civil case.

Sabalones claimed what happened was a "classic example of mistaken identity" and that the president may have been referring to his brother, Franz Sabalones, who has been rumored to be involved in illegal drug trade.

Burdeos said, "we will leave that to the law enforcement agencies or the fiscal to look into the matter."

Going through the necessary proceedings, a public official may not only face criminal liability but also administrative sanctions such as suspension or dismissal once his or her involvement of the illegal activity is proven.

In the case of former Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama who is also in Duterte's list, Burdeos said he can no longer be held responsible administratively since he is not holding an elective post. Rama lost to Mayor Tomas Osmeña in the May 2016 polls.

Burdeos said a memorandum circular regarding the matter will be released soon, citing the participation of DILG-7, which may serve as the monitoring body for local officials in the performance of their mandate to resolve the illegal drug problem. (FREEMAN)

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