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27 local pols in win circle drug suspects; senator pushes inquiry

Twenty-seven winners in the midterm elections for local positions have links to the illegal drug trade, the Philippine National Police said Monday.

These narco-politicians include mayors and governors, said PNP chief Oscar Albayalde, who said some of the winners came from Central Luzon and the Southern Tagalog region.

Of the 37 politicians with alleged links to illegal drugs who sought local government posts, 27 won, he said.

Police are still investigating these politicians, he added.

Senator Richard Gordon, an administration ally, called on the government to investigate these victories, following reports of massive vote buying.

The investigation should involve the Commission on Elections, the Anti-Money Laundering Council, the Bureau of Internal Revenue, the National Bureau of Investigation and the PNP, he said.

The AMLC, he said, should examine large-scale withdrawals from banks just before the elections and see if these tied in with the massive vote buying he said occurred.

Gordon expressed concern that areas in which the narco-politicians won are conducing to drug smuggling and could become a base of operation for international drug cartels.

Gordon also said some narco-politicians fielded family members to various positions to ensure protection from harassment.

They also forged alliances with local candidates who were also just as desperate to win to protect their graft and corrupt practices, he added.

In the case of Zambales, a province with a 272 kilometer coastline which is right next to Scarborough Shoal and near China where lots of smuggled drugs originate, there was rampant vote buying from Subic to Sta. Cruz and Olongapo City, Gordon said.

The Khonghuns, who were among those named by the President as narco-politicians, engaged in massive vote buying in Zambales to ensure their victory, bagging four positions, Gordon said.

“It is obviously an attempt by the narco-politicians to save themselves by getting positions. They now hold sway over these areas. Now, these people have proven that with just money, they can win, they can buy the Comelec, they can buy votes,” the senator said.

“I have never seen anything like it in my life, and I blew the whistle on it, four days before the elections. It is dangerous for us now because Zambales is a coastline province right next to Scarborough Shoal. It would be so easy to bring in drugs,” he said.

Zambales First District Rep. Jeffrey Khonghun and his son Mayor Jefferson Khonghun were included in the President’s narco-list after a floating shabu laboratory was raided in Subic, Zambales where the younger Khonghun was mayor.

READ: Narco-pols far from being cleared

Topics: Philippine National Police , Oscar Albayalde , Commission on Elections , Anti-Money Laundering Council , Bureau of Internal Revenue , Richard Gordon
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