Some top government officials in the province are included in the list now being reviewed of those allegedly involved in the drug trade operations here.
Cabinet Sec. Leoncio “Jun” Evasco toldÂ The ChronicleÂ that their personal background are being reviewed as reports on their drug linkages are being validated as orders were issued by Pres. Rodrigo Duterte to double check the veracity of their involvement in drugs before he would publicly announce them.
The statement of Sec. Evasco came few hours after the President named last Sunday more than 159 judges, local government officials mostly mayors and policemen as involved in the drug trafficking in their respective areas.
A highly placed source toldÂ The ChronicleÂ a team from Manila arrived here less than twoÂ weeks ago to verify the land holdings of those officials in the “review list.”
Asked as to the number of local officials in Bohol who are in the “review list,” the ranking Duterte official who used to be the town mayor of Maribojoc,Â declined to reveal any figure.
However,Â reports stated at least five local officials are being validated on their alleged involvement in the drug trade which has proliferated much in the province.
Unconfirmed reports said there are 10 from Bohol, to include policemen who are in the “protection racket”
It may be noted that Bohol is one of the provinces with the most number of drug “surrenderees”Â that reached to more than 30,000 drug pushers and users
Reports revealed that 97% or 1,082, out of the 1,109 barangays in the province are affected with drugs.
In the first few days after the State of the Nation Address (SONA) of Pres. Duterte, a series of killings and arrests of drug personalities was reported in the province. In fact, today no less than 15 people were killed during police operationsÂ whileÂ more than a dozen were nabbed by police operatives after yielding through Tokhang.
LEYTE MAYOR BEHIND
DRUGS IN BOHOL
Pres.Â Duterte blamed drug-linked Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa for the rampant drug activities in Bohol in a speech addressed to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Central Command in Camp Lapu-lapu, Cebu.
Espinosaâ€™s illegal narcotics operations in the region has driven illegal drug trade in Bohol, Duterte said while vowing to put an end to the Albuera mayorâ€™s alleged drug business by any means necessary.
The presidentÂ also 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€ last Sunday, 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 on DYRD Bohol Ang Kasaliganâ€™s Facebook post which reported the names of individuals in government suspected of illegal narcotics involvement.
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.
Other netizens were optimistic that another batch of narco-officials will be named by the president.
Previously, the President announced that he will be naming 600 public officials who are involved in illegal drug activities.