Manila Mayor Joseph “Erap” Estrada on Wednesday appealed to voters to choose the right local officials who are not corrupt and linked to illegal drugs in the coming Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections on May 14 this year.
The former President said this is also the opportunity to remove local officials involved in corruption and are protectors of illegal drug operations.
“l am appealing to our voters to reject candidates engaged in corruption and illegal drugs. I am seeking your help to support Presidente Rodrigo Duterte in his campaign against criminality and corruption,” he said.
Barangays are in the front lines not only in providing basic services but also in fighting illegal drugs, corruption, and criminality, he added.
At the recent Congress of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines, Estrada said the multibillion-peso drug industry must be destroyed at all costs, especially with the coming barangay and SK elections.
“This is the reason why I am appealing to all to vote for candidates who are actively fighting the war against corruption and illegal drugs at the barangay levels,” he said.
Estrada said the government needs the support of everyone in ridding the menace of illegal drugs in the country.
He said voters play a major role in eradicating illegal drugs protected by local officials and called on voters to shun incumbent village officials seeking reelection who are found to be “lazy” and have done nothing to improve the living conditions of their constituents.
The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency reported that 143 village chiefs and 146 village councilors nationwide were involved in the narcotics trade.
PDEA Director General Aaron Aquino said the government has already come up with a list of barangay officials with links to drug syndicates.
Aquino said the decision whether to make public the names of barangay officials involved in illegal drugs is up to the President.
The PDEA chief said that if Duterte decides to name names, PDEA will provide the list to the Department of Interior and Local Government.
“It will surely help the voters to decide who to vote and to know who are involved in illegal activities,” Estrada added.