By William Casis | FilAm Star Correspondent
Sen. Francis Pangilinan assured that the opposition would not be silenced over Department of Justice (DoJ) Sec. Vitaliano Aguirre II’s disclosure that a bagman implicated Liberal Party (LP) stalwarts Sen. Franklin Drilon and former Sen. Manuel Roxas II as protectors of drug lords.
Pangilinan, also president of LP, said the opposition would continue to speak out and uncover any misdeeds of the administration. “This could not gag the opposition. We should speak against and expose wrong doings,” said Pangilinan.
Pangilinan branded the allegations against Drilon and Roxas as an effort by the Duterte administration to divert the public’s attention from the smuggling scandal of P6.4 billion worth of shabu that rocked the Bureau of Customs (BoC) and the extra-judicial killings amid the government’s bloody campaign against illegal drugs.
Presidential son Davao City Vice-mayor Paolo Duterte and presidential son-in-law law lawyer Manases Carpio were implicated in the massive smuggling at the BoC.
Pangilinan said, if the government was really serious with its illegal drugs crack down, the Duterte administration should go after those involved in the smuggling of the multi-billion-peso shabu from China.
“They plant or manufacture evidence to pin down their enemies and tampering the evidence to free and absolve their allies,” he added.
Sen. Panfilo Lacson said he does not believe the accusations against Drilon and Roxas. “For me, not only because I know Sen. Drilon and Roxas too well, but also it is hard to believe the words of a rival drug lord of Odicta who can not anymore confirm or deny that statement,” said the former PNP Chief.
Lacson was referring to Melvin Odicta Sr., an alleged drug lord in Iloilo who was killed in August 2016 in Aklan.
Justice Sec. Vitaliano Aguirre said self-confessed “paymaster” Ricky Serenio of the Berya drug cartel tagged Drilon and Roxas as protectors of Odicta and Iloilo City Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog.
Malacanang, on the other hand, said, “The Liberal Party is afraid of its own ghosts after conducting several witch hunt investigations against their perceived political enemies when they were in power.”
In an affidavit he submitted to the La Carlota City prosecutor’s office in Negros Occidental on October 18, Serenio said Odicta controlled the narcotics trade in Iloilo City.
Serenio accused Drilon and Roxas of partnering with Odicta to control the illegal drug business in the Western Visayas, Panay and Negros islands by kicking out dominant drug suppliers Berya Tolentino and the Camaria group.
“Being in power with close association to the PNP, it was easy for the Roxas-Drilon tandem to paralyze, and eventually overthrow the Berya-Camaria drug operations and wipe out these groups from operating in Negros Island,” read Serenio’s affidavit.
With the Berya-Camaria group taken out of the picture, Serenio said Drilon and Roxas could turn over the drug operations in the region to Odicta.
Odicta and his wife Meriam were shot dead by unidentified assailants on August 29, 2016 upon their arrival at the Caticlan Jetty Port in Aklan.