SAN FERNANDO CITY, La Union – Former La Union 2nd District Representative Eufranio Eriguel believed that politics is the motive why his name was included in the list of alleged narco-politicians identified by President Duterte.
“This is politically-motivated. They tried to kill me during the last election with a powerful bomb that resulted to the death of my driver and injured my two supporters. Now they are trying to ruin my reputation along with my three mayors so that they can control our district again. Never again,” Eriguel said.
Eriguel suspected that his political opponents in La Union, some of whom are former military officers who still have influenced with the police and military, allegedly fed wrong information to the President.
Eriguel, on April 30, survived a bomb attack near his house in Barangay Santa Barbara, Agoo, La Union while on his way to a campaign sortie for the congressional bid of his wife Sandra. His driver died in the explosion while two of his supporters were seriously injured.
Eriguel along with Mayor Dante Garcia of Tubao, La Union, Mayor Martin De Guzman of Bauang town and Naguilian town Mayor Reynaldo Flores were named by Duterte as among those four alleged narco-politicians from La Union.
Eriguel said he was shocked about the President’s pronouncement and denied any involvement in illegal drug activities.
“As a medical doctor, I know too well how illegal drugs affect the well-being and health of a person. As a family man, I firmly believed that drugs wreck families and relationship. As dedicated public servant, I actively supported the eradication of drugs in my district,” Eriguel said.
Mayor Garcia, for his part, vehemently denied any involvement on illegal drug activities and asked authorities to revalidate their list.
“I never involved in any use of illegal drugs, selling or protecting anyone from this illegal activity. I maybe suspected of coddling because the No. 3 person (Salvador Marzan alias Amang) in the regional drug watch list is from my town. But I did not sit in on this matter. I once wrote the National Bureau Investigation (NBI) to conduct an operation against Amang. He was indeed raided by NBI and CIDG (Criminal Investigation and Detection Group) from Manila but he was able to evade detention because there are alleged influential persons protecting him,” Garcia said who went to Camp Crame Sunday to clear his name.
Garcia said he did not stop in coordinating with authorities about the activities of Amang but he is lucky enough to evade arrest.
“I am open for any investigation because my conscience is clear,” Garcia said.
Garcia said that he even supported and campaigned for the presidential bid of Duterte because he was confident that the proliferation of illegal drugs would be solved and probably it would pave the way for the arrest Amang and his protectors
“My towns mate knows me well. They know how I served them for 24 year. I hope that the truth will come out,” Garcia said.
Meanwhile, Mayor De Guzman said that he and his family are deeply saddened by the President’s announcement saying that his conscience is clear.
“The people of Bauang and the province of La Union as a whole, knows me well, my personality and my family background. I am worried with my security now and I want to clear my name. This is a big embarrassment to me and my family. The truth should come out so we will know what the reality about this matter is,” De Guzman said.
Some 100 residents and members of non-government organizations in Bauang held a ‘unity walk’ yesterday to support De Guzman.
“We truly believe that our Mayor is innocent. Not any single gossip has linked our Mayor on illegal drugs. We were so shocked with the announcement of the President,” said Donnie Baradi, president of the Market Vendors Association of Bauang.
Eriguel, Garcia, De Guzman along with Flores, who have yet to release his statement on the matter, went to Camp Crame yesterday to clear their names.
By Dexter A. See