President Rodrigo Duterte blamed drug-linked Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa for the rampant drug activities in the province which confirmed earlier reports that a Leyte based public official was working out the drug trade especially those entering through the town of Ubay.
The President issued this statement in a speech he delivered to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Central Command in Camp Lapu-lapu, Cebu.
Duterte lamented the proliferation of drugs in Bohol, where his grandmother traced her roots, noting that Boholanos are known to be â€œlaw-abidingâ€ and â€œGod-fearingâ€.
â€œThatâ€™s how they are in my grandmotherâ€™s hometown; in Maribojoc. They fear God. Thatâ€™s why I wondered where the drugs came fromâ€, Duterte said. â€œIt turns out that it was because of that mayorâ€.
However, the President did not name contacts of Espinosa in the province who may have worked with the mayor in alleged illegal drug operations in Bohol.
In his disclosure of identities of â€œnarco-officialsâ€ on Sunday morning, Duterte named 159 incumbent and former local officials and lawmakers, judges, and uniformed personnel, but none of them are from Bohol.
The non-inclusion of Bohol officials sparked mixed reactions from Boholano netizens who collectively generated hundreds of comments during the top-ratedÂ Inyong AlagadÂ program of DYRD last Monday, the day after Pres. Duterte named judges, mayors, congressman and policemen as linked to drug trade in the various parts of the country.
Some vented their skepticism over the absence of Boholanos in the list, noting that the high number of drug personalities who surrendered to Bohol authorities is an indication that the provinceÂ is home to drug-linked government officials.
Previously, Duterte announced that he will be naming 600 public officials who are involved in illegal drug activities.
Meanwhile, Boholano Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco, Jr. for his part, toldÂ The Chronicleyesterday that there are Bohol based personalities included in the list. However, authorities are validating the involvement of these military and civilian officials in Bohol,
Asked if the number of public officials in Bohol would number to 10, Sec. Evasco replied, “maybe.”
There are reports that at least five town mayors are being looked into the drug involvement while other top provincial officials are aledgedly included in the list.
As to when the second batch of names be announced by Pres. Duterte, the Boholano Duterte cabinet official said “no one could tell as it will depend on how fast the verification can be done by authorities.