Administration and opposition congressmen yesterday welcomed President Duterte’s public declaration of solons involved in the illegal drugs trade but appealed to the Chief Executive to back his accusations with “solid and credible” evidence.
Duterte has listed three so far but two of them are no longer congressmen after serving the three-term limit. The name of another, a certain party-list Rep. Jeffrey Celis, is not listed in the rolls of members of the 17th Congress.
Former Reps. Rahman Nava of Guimaras and Guillermo Romarate of Surigao del Norte are both former congressmen who represented the Liberal Party.
Negros Occidental Rep. Arnulfo Teves, a confessed former drug user, backed Duterte’s decision to name officials involved in drug trafficking. However, he urged the Chief Executive to publicly identify personalities if evidence will back the accusation to prevent politics from tainting the drug war.
Teves also appealed to Duterte to carefully delineate drug traffickers from drug users, pointing out that the latter are victims themselves.
“Lawmakers are not sacred cows, but I just hope there will be solid and credible evidence to back the charges,” reacted former House Speaker and now Quezon City Rep. Feliciano Belmonte Jr.
Ako Bicol Rep. Rodel Batocabe said Duterte has the support of Congress and the public if he would start naming solons involved in drugs “rather than hold the public speculating.”
“As it is every solon is fair game to speculators. Or perhaps the President is giving these involved solons a chance to change their ways. Whatever that is, I respect the decision of the President,” stated Batocabe.
Reps. Rodito Albano (NP, Isabela) and Tobias Tiangco (Independent, Navotas City) said Duterte should be supported as he attempts to cleanse all government agencies, including the Legislative and Judiciary, of drug protectors and pushers. (Ben R. Rosario)