Also arranging meeting with Du30: Rama on ‘road to redemption’
(The Freeman) - August 9, 2016 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines - Former Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama presented himself before the central office of Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency to clear his name a day after President Rodrigo Duterte named him as among the politicians protecting illegal drugs.

In a telephone interview with THE FREEMAN yesterday, Rama said he went to Manila yesterday and that he has done his part in clearing his name.

"I'm still finding my way to be cleared," he said.

He did not divulge further details on his visit to the agency.

When asked if he also visited the office of Philippine National Police chief Ronald "Bato" De la Rosa, Rama would not confirm it as of last night.

"Just wait for my press conference tomorrow (today)," Rama said, saying that he will reveal the details of his activities in Manila in today's press conference.

All the 159 officials, including Rama, were asked by Duterte to submit themselves for investigation 24 hours after the president named them Sunday dawn.

Rama also said someone is arranging his meeting with the president.

"I have no idea but it is being arranged and worked upon. I don't have to mention names but I wish it can happen," Rama said.

When asked if he is confident that his name will be cleared, Rama said "dili lang sa ta moingon nga confident ka'y wala pa ta kahibaw unsa'y next nila. Ang pinaka importante, wala ta'y sala."

Rama refused to answer when asked if he approves naming officials who are alleged drug protectors.

"No. No. I don't even want to talk about it. Spare me out of it in the meantime. I'm still focusing on having to be cleared," he added.

Meanwhile, Cebu City Councilor Sisinio Andales said he was not surprised that the former mayor was linked to illegal drugs.

"Mao man na'y issue kaniadto sa election nga si Mike addict. Mao g'yud nay gipalutaw sa miaging election. Klaro ug tataw nga mao g'yud to'y dako nga issue batok niya. Now, wala sad ko mahibong nga mahinganlan g'yud siya ni Presidente Digong Duterte maski pa pag-unsa pag palutaw sa Facebook nga si Tommy (mayor Osmeña) mibiya kay mahadlok nganlan ni president," he said.

Andales, a lawyer by profession, said the president's information was "verified and reevaluated" and came from reliable intelligence.

He advised Rama to follow the order of the president to report to the national government to clear his name.

"True to the promise of President Duterte nga iyang pulpogon ang drugas sa Pilipinas. He has an A1 information gikan sa PNP, PDEA, gikan sa mga intelligence agencies sa Pilipinas kon kinsa g'yud ang involved. Dili siguro nga magpataka siya og ngan kay he is a lawyer, he was a former fiscal. Dili lalim nga mongalan ka og dagko nga pangalan sa dagkong tao," he said.

City Councilor David Tumulak, an ally of Rama, said the former mayor and other named officials should be given time to explain their side.

"Ang ako lang is hatagan og time to explain his side. And I know former mayor Mike Rama nga he can defend for himself. Kailangan og isuta og maayo ang information," he said.

Tumulak said he supports the president naming public officials who are alleged drug protectors.

"For me, ipagawas. Pero tagaan lang nato ang mga ginganlan og time to prove nga dili tinuod ang allegations. Kon tinuod man gali, mayra. Kinahanglan prisohon," he said.

"Dapat lang pud naa'y due process kay unfair pud sa mga napasanginlan nga dili diay g'yud tinuod," he added.

Tumulak said he was the representative of the peace and order program during the time of Rama and attended all the meetings with the policemen, adding that he always heard Rama asking the police to go after drug pushers and drug personalities.

"Wala ko'y nakita nga rason nga malambigit g'yud siya. Makita pod na sa lifestyle ni mayor Rama," he added.

Meanwhile, Governor Hilario Davide III admitted that he was surprised when Duterte named Rama.

"Ako di ko katuo g'yud kay kaila man ko niya. I was shocked to learn he is an alleged drug protector. I found it unbelievable," said Davide, who worked with Rama in the Cebu City Council for six years.

However, he said if a crime has been committed the law should take its course, adding the president will not just read a list of names if it has not been verified.

Davide also said two officials are allegedly involved in illegal drugs in Cebu; one is a former mayor in the 7th district and the other an incumbent councilman in the 4th district. He refused to name them.

"I don't have proof against them. These are unverified info. But known kaayo na sila g'yud," he said.

If there is evidence linking them to the use and trade of illegal drugs they should be investigated, Davide said.

"Being a lawyer by profession, the black letter law of due process must remain uncompromised….for after all we are still a government of laws and not of men," he said. — (FREEMAN)

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