From InterAksyon (Jun 27): NorSam Governor denies drug allegations of NDF-Eastern Visayas
Northern Samar Governor-elect Jose Ong vehemently denied at the weekend allegations of the National Democratic Front-Eastern Visayas (NDF-EV) branch that his clan is involved in illegal drug activities in his province.
Last month, NDF-EV Spokesperson Fr. Santiago Salas issued a statement from the revolutionary movement expressing concern over the proliferation of illegal drug activities that is affecting the lives of the youth and leading to drug-related crimes against women and children.
"Anti-narcotics activists allege that the Ong family dominates the illegal drugs trade in Northern Samar. The provincial police controlled by the Ongs pretend to arrest drug pushers who are small fry now and then, but only the ones who are not being run by this family, and the real drug lords are, of course, untouchable. These anti-illegal drugs crusaders have provided the revolutionary movement with lists of the Ongs' alleged drug pushers in Catarman, Las Navas, Laoang and other towns in Northern Samar," according to the statement.
In an interview with Samar Governor Jose Ong during the Regional Development Council Meeting last week, he said that the accusations of the NDF-Eastern Visayas are to be ignored. The allegations were also thrown against his political rivals in 2013, the Dazas.
"I don't know where they pick this up from, I notice NDF tends to just casually bring out issues without any basis; they would accused anybody. Maybe this is because Father Walter Cerbito, who was supported by its armed wing, the New People's Army, suffered an election loss," said Ong.
Ong stressed that, of all crimes, drug pushing should not be tolerated, even as he is planning to conduct a Drug Summit in the next two months to focus on how to stamp out illegal drugs in his province.
"They should come forward with proof; anybody can make allegations. I can even claim that it is they [the NDF] who are protecting drug pushers, but I don't do that," he added.
He said it was not surprising he did not win in areas allegedly controlled by the New People's Army because of their support for Fr. Walter Cerbito, his political rival in the May 9 elections: "But still, how come Fr. Cerbito did not come out victorious if they had such vaunted influence?"
Ong cited that the 24 municipalities in Northern Samar have already been declared as Conflict Manageable and Ready for Development by the Philippine Army's 8th Infantry Division.