November 29, 2023

Authorities served a warrant of arrest to a candidate for punong barangay in Alab, Bontoc, Mountain Province for  possession of P380,000 worth of illegal drugs.

The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency-Cordillera and Police Regional Office-Cordillera arrested the suspect identified as Alex Pilingan Balteo, through a search warrant issued by the First Judicial Region, third Municipal Circuit Trial Court of Besao-Sagada, Mt. Province.

The operatives seized shabu valued at P376,652 and drug paraphernalia and a short firearm with ammunition in his home on Oct. 14.

The suspect will face charges for violation of Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 and violation of RA 10591 or the Comprehensive Law on Firearms.

PDEA-CAR Information Officer Rosel Sarmiento said the suspect is under the regional watchlist of drug personalities and has been subjected to surveillance for the past months. The suspect’s drug test also yielded positive of illegal substance use.

Sarmiento said illegal drugs use is not a disqualifying ground of the Commission on Elections that is why they are not conducting random drug testing to aspirants to the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan official positions. 

The drug test needs to be conducted voluntarily and there were no candidates who voluntarily dropped by their office to take the test as of the moment.

“Our reminder to the Cordilleran electorate is to vote wisely. We urged the voters to shun drug personalities or any candidate with involvement in illegal drug use or activity,” she said. 

Philippine National Police Chief Benjamin Acorda, Jr., during his visit to Camp BadoDangwain La Trinidad, Benguet last week, said the police force is always on the lookout especially for erring incumbent and aspiring public officials involved in illegal drug trade or use.

“Kasi mantakin mo they are the basic foundation of our government, iyong mga barangay officials. And if iyong barangay leaders natin ay sila mismo ang involved sa droga ay mahirap po iyan, hindi safe ang ating community sa kanila,” Acorda said. – Ofelia C. Empian