The Department of the Interior and Local Government in the Eastern Visayas region (Region 8) today (July 12) attested that two local politicians accused by the National Democratic Front-Eastern Visayas as being into the illegal drugs trade have not in any way dipped their hands in the illicit activity.
Pedro Noval Jr., DILG Region 8 director, said based on field intelligence reports which reached him, Northern Samar 2nd District Rep. Edwin Ong, and Northern Samar Governor Jose Ong both have clean records in relation to illegal drugs.
Noval said he sees politics as behind the accusation since a defeated gubernatorial candidate in the last elections was a member of the NDF in Eastern Visayas.
He said as soon as news reports said that the Ongs were allegedly into illegal drugs, he immediately ordered the DILG provincial director of Northern Samar to find out the truth and submit a report to him.
“Based sa reports, I have not heard anything about it that they (Ongs) are linked to illegal drugs. It is just a political issue because during the (last) election, yung (isang) kandidato against Gov. Ong is from the group of the NDF and NPA (New Peoples Army), isang pari,” Noval said.
He said even the Philippine Drug Enforcemet Agency based in the region has already issued a statement that the Ongs were not involved in illegal drugs.
The Northern Samar Police Provincial Office (NSPPO) echoed Noval’s declaration as it certified that Rep. Ong and his uncle, Gov. Ong, are not included in its “drug watchlist” contrary to what the National Democratic Front-Eastern Visayas alleged.
In a statement issued July 11, Senior Supt. Daniel Mayoni, the acting provincial director of NSPPO, said the accusation made by the NDF that 2nd District Rep. Edwin Ong and Gov. Jose Ong were into the illegal drug activities was purely speculative.
“Based on our records, we found the allegation against our local politician(s) to be baseless, on the ground that Congressman Edwin Ong and Governor Jose L Ong were not included in our drug personalities watchlist,” Mayoni said.
To further counter check the NDF information, Mayori dispatched a team of intelligence agents to gather information on the Ongs, which later proved to be negative.
“…Validated intelligence report dated July 08, 2016 disclosed that no such information as to the possible involvement (in illegal drugs) of the herein mentioned personalities has yet been given to this Office that would call for appropriate action,” Mayoni added.
Laurefel Gabales, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency Region 8 (Eastern Visayas) regional chief, earlier cleared Rep. Ong and Gov. Ong of any involvement to illegal drugs as he sees politics as the reason for such accusation after Gov. Ong defeated in the last elections a former priest who is a member of the NDF.
“In my own personal opinion doon yan sa politics talaga, kasi yung tumakbong governor nitong nakaraang May elections ay dating NDF na pari, pero natalo. So, yun ang first impression ko, politics talaga. Second, pina-check ko talaga kung may single link ang mga Ong sa illegal drugs, pero wala kaming nakikita,” he added.
Gabales said he has been receiving persistent reports about the Ongs’ alleged illicit acts even before the May 9 polls, reason why he mobilized anti-illegal drugs intelligence agents to verify such information.
The recycled allegation, again, came out last week. The Ongs denied the accusation.