The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) on Friday discouraged the public from voting for candidates involved or tainted with illegal drugs running in next year’s polls.
PDEA Director General Wilkins Villanueva issued the warning in light of the recent arrest of a mayoralty candidate and four others at a checkpoint in Mountain Province.
Last October 13, joint elements of PDEA Regional Office-Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) under the direct supervision of Director Gil Cesario Castro and the local police conducted a checkpoint operation in Oowayen, Barangay Poblacion, Sadanga that led to the arrest of Sonny Kalaw, a former police officer and a mayoralty candidate of Sabangan, Mountain Province; and four cohorts.
Seized during the operation were 19 bricks of dried marijuana leaves, with an estimated street value of P2.28 million and a black Toyota HiAce Grandia.
“Dismiss candidates who are involved in illegal drug activities. They do not deserve your votes. We urge the voting public to choose wisely our next leaders,” Villanueva said.
He added that reelectionists and prospective bets who act in collusion with drug syndicates might continue to rule the polls.
Drug money may seep into the electoral process, funding the campaign of certain politicians seeking positions in the government in exchange for protection and self-preservation, Villanueva said.
“Your vote is precious and please treat it that way. If we want to attain drug-free communities, we should opt for leaders who genuinely defend the nation from illegal drugs,” he added.