President Rodrigo Duterte has warned that drug money might influence the May 2019 midterm elections as he vowed to issue an order for the entire government machinery to mobilize its assets for the anti-illegal drug campaign.
“Tignan mo ngayong eleksyon, makita ninyo ‘yan. Drug money will play dito,” Duterte said during his lecture on illegal drugs to the Cabinet in Malacañang on Tuesday.
Duterte did not expound on his point but in supporting the postponement of the barangay elections in 2016, he had argued that drug syndicates would likely support politicians who will protect them and their illicit activity.
The Department of the Interior and Local Government, meanwhile, wants the Commission on Elections to disqualify candidates said to be involved in illegal drugs and corruption.
The President then slammed the Parojinog family of Ozamiz City whom he has linked to the illegal drug trade.
“Kita mo hanggang ngayon itong naiwan na mga kapatid, mga relatives ni Parojinog, pinapatay pa pati judge. Talagang tarantado ang p___ina,” he said.
Duterte had linked the family to the illegal drug trade, especially the late Ozamiz Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog Sr. who was among those killed in the series of drug raids in their homes on July 30 last year.
Ozamiz Vice Mayor Nova Princess Parojinog and her brother, Reynaldo Parojinog Jr., were arrested and are currently detained on cases for illegal possession of firearms and ammunition, and illegal possession of explosives and dangerous drugs.
The judge handling their cases was killed on October 8. The Parojinogs immediately denied involvement and called on authorities to investigate and arrest the perpetrators.
In the same lecture, Duterte said he would issue a memorandum circular directing the activation of a national anti-illegal drug task force.
The task force will be composed of the personnel from the Philippine National Police, Armed Forces of the Philippines, Bureau of Customs, Philippine Coast Guard, and other government agencies.
“It can provide a necessary personal complement to carry out the directive of the President to the Bureau of Customs to block the flow of illegal drugs in this country,” he said, adding the drug menace “is the number one threat to national security.”
Duterte in March last year issued Executive Order 15 that created the Inter-agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD).
Its functions included ensuring the effective conduct of anti-illegal drug operations and arrest of high-value drug personalities down to the street-level peddlers and users, intensive advocacy campaign initiatives, and cleansing the bureaucracy of unscrupulous personnel involved in illegal drug activities, among others.