By KIMBERLIE NGABIT-QUITASOL
BAGUIO CITY — Jomarc Pabunan, a village council member of Barangay Lower Magsaysay here in Baguio City and running for re-election this 2018 attended the peace covenant signing today at the Catherdral grounds. He was being identified to be the Jumar Pabunan that was included in the “drug list” that the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) released recently.
Pabunan said it was unfair and a mistake to identify him as among those listed in the drug list. “If the list was truly verified and correct, then they would have known that my name is Jomarc and that I already cleared my name with the police in 2016,” he said.
Pabunan said that in an affidavit he submitted to the police in 2016 he already explained that he was not a drug user or involved in the drug trade in any way. “I was included in the list in 2016 after three of our Barangay Tanod volunteers were caught using drugs,” he said.
“They concluded that I was the boss of the three because I was the head of the Barangay peace and order council,” he added.
He said that as head of the peace and order council, he was with barangay volunteers and police in patrolling his barangay to guard against criminal activities including illegal drug trade.
Pabunan said that he was tested negative of illegal drugs in 2016. “I have the documents to prove this,” he said.
Pabunan said that on the day the PDEA “drug list” came out on the media he went to the Baguio City Police Office (BCPO) and PDEA to ask why is he being implicated again. According to him, he was not included in the BCPO list.
“When I went to PDEA, I was told that the local office can not just delete names from the list and that they were waiting for the deleting process guidelines to be set,” Pabunan said.
Pabunan also expressed fear that if he continues to be vocal in opposing the list, “baka lalo ako madiin”.
Pabunan said that all he wanted was for those responsible to correct the erroneous “drug list”.
Baguio police chief Ramil Saculles said that the two village council members included in the PDEA list have already surrendered in 2016. “In fairness to them, they surrendered already and based on our monitoring they have not figured in our list of drug personalities again,” he said.
The other village council member who figured in the PDEA list is Dick Bravo of Barangay Lopez Jaena. Bravo did not file for candidacy this year.
PCSupt. Edward Caranza, in a separate interview said that most of the village officials included in the PDEA drug list already surrendered in 2016. But he was not able to provide a detailed list.
Caranza said the regional intelligence office is in the process of revalidating the PDEA list.
The Cordillera region has the second most number of barangay officials included in the PDEA narco list release yesterday. There were 34 village officials listed that included eight barangay captains and 26 barangay councilors.
Seven of the village captains are from Abra province that include Herlie Castaneda of Laguiben village, Lagangilang town; Efren Hernandez of Poblacion, San Quintin; Jerome Gringo Dizon of Caupasan, Danglas; Dennis Felina of Luzong and Baylon Gumanab of Catagdegan both of Manabo; Raymund Bites of Marcay and Robert Millare of Banacao both in Bangued. Included
in the list is Barangay captain Leonardo Blaza of Mallig village in Flora town of Apayao province.
Seventeen out of the 26 village councilors are from Abra province; five are from Apayao, two from Baguio City, one from Kalinga and one from Ifugao. No barangay officials from Benguet and Mountain Province were included in the narcotics list.
Director General Oscar Albayalde, chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP) said that village officials who included in the drug list of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) would be accorded due process on Friday, May 3.
Albayalde, who was at the Baguio Country Club for a command conference with Cordillera, Ilocos and Cagayan Valley regional commands, said they will still have to investigate and gather evidences before they could file cases against those who are included in the list.
“If we find evidence we can always conduct active police operations against them, if we do not find anything then we can always go talk to them and ask them to surrender ala tokhang,” Albayalde said.
Alabayalde said that those who claim that they were wrongly included in the list can go through the delisting process. He explained that there is an adjudication process that starts from the barangay all the way up to the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).
But he said the police also have their own adjudication process.
“They are entitled to due process,” Albayalde said.
“We understand their sentiments, if they really do not have involvement in illegal drugs they will surely be cleared,” Albayalde added. #nordis.net