MANILA, Aug. 12, 2016 – A priest serving in the Archdiocese of Jaro appealed to President Rodrigo Duterte to verify the accuracy of the released list of drug dealers in Iloilo, which the president tagged the “most shabulized” region in the country.
Msgr. Meliton Oso, Social Action Director of Archdiocese of Jaro called on the president to “…double check his information as some of this is absurd, like the case of Jeffery Selis.”
According to Duterte, Selis is a former congressman, but he was never one.
The recently-released list of names includes local government officials and high-profile Iloilo personalities.
The priest also said they would participate in the campaign of the government against illegal drugs, provided the information is true.
“We do not deny that we have a drug problem, but if we are the most shabulized I believed that is a big question, we would like to appeal to the president to check, to double, triple check, whatever check. It seems like he didn’t get good data,” Oso said in Filipino and English.
The priest also clarified that the local church is supportive of the government’s anti-drug campaign.
“I want to make it clear that we are very supportive with his desire or his enthusiasm to please the 16 million voters who put him in power who probably also want to eradicate the drug problem,” added Oso. He stressed, however, that the campaign must observe “due process” and must not destroy the dignity of the people.
“But please let’s do it within the parameters of the law, most especially by respecting due process, if you want to eradicate drug problems… But please these are the names of people, every person has a right [to] his good name, his reputation. The moment that is maligned, dignity is violated,” Oso explained.
Narco-politics pastoral letter
Some of the officials identified in the list are:
- Mayor Jed Mabilog of Iloilo City
- Sigfredo Betita of Carles
- Alex Centena of Calinog
- Mariano Malones of Maasin
- Judge Savillo of Regional Trial Court Branch 13
- Vice Mayor Francis Ansing Amboy of Maasin
- Atty. Antonio Pesina Erwin “Tongtong” Plagata
Meanwhile, the Archdiocese of Jaro reminded the faithful of a pastoral letter released years ago on the bad effects of illegal drugs.
“Many years ago, we released a pastoral letter on narco-politics. … If you remember it was Gen. Aglipay when he was PNP Chief who came to archbishop. We took the problems seriously, we released a pastoral letter to the vicariates, to the schools, We took that very seriously,” said Oso over Radyo Veritas. (Glenn Figuracion / CBCPNews)