BAGUIO CITY – Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan urged combined police operatives, intelligence agents and anti-narcotics personnel to verify and validate the inclusion of politicians, judges and police and military officials involved in the illegal drug trade before formally submitting their classified information to higher authorities to avoid trial by publicity of innocent individuals.
The local chief executive made the appeal to the Baguio City Police Office (BCPO), Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and the Criminal investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) after the inclusion of Judge Antonio Reyes of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 61, or the city’s special anti-drug court, as one of personalities allegedly involved in illegal drug-related activities in the country, saying that law enforcers must make ensure the veracity of reports reaching them before submitting the list to higher authorities for the consumption of President Rodrigo Duterte.
“We fully support the President’s all-out war against the illegal drug trade in the country but it is important for concerned agencies involved in intelligence gathering to verify and validate reports on the involvement of city officials, judges, law enforcers and military in the drug trade to avoid the inclusion of innocent individuals in the list that will be subsequently divulged by the President, subjecting such individuals to trial by publicity,” Domogan stressed.
In 2013, the Regional Advisory Council of the CIDG-CAR which was chaired by the City Mayor passed a resolution requesting the Supreme Court (SC) to dissolve the city’s anti-drug court and that drug cases be raffled to the different courts in the city.
However, Domogan disclosed the SC never acted on the request for over three years now for still unknown reasons until the controversy on the alleged involvement of Judge Reyes in the illegal drug trade in the city as announced by President Duterte last Sunday.
According to him, there is nothing wrong on the anti-drug campaign of the present administration because the exposure of the youth to illegal drugs will definitely compromise their future but law enforcers must exercise due diligence in the data gathering to ensure that solid evidence backs their reports.
He emphasized the importance of having validated and verified information so that future operations of combined police operatives and anti-narcotics agents will not be subject to criticism once innocent civilians will be caught in the crossfire.
Domogan appealed to those involved in the drug trade to voluntarily surrender to the barangay officials and the concerned law enforcers to avoid the inclusion of innocent individuals in the operations that might cast doubts on the quality of information being brought to the attention of the operatives.
By Dexter A. See