Pimentel Challenge Barangay officials: Prove Duterte wrong; barangay leaders involved in illegal drug trade

Senate President Aquilino 'Koko' Pimentel dared barangay chieftains to prove President Rodrigo Duterte wrong on his claims that 40 percent of them are involved in illegal drug related trade.

"If the report is wrong, then maybe there is no need to discuss appointments to replace barangay officials," Pimentel said in a keynote speech to the Strategic Consultation and Workshop on Federalism, Barangay Reform, and Role of Barangays in National Security Concerns organized by the Liga ng mga Barangay (LNB).

"So that is I think a challenge… to each and every one of you," he added.

He is referring to the President's statements on March that he himself will be appointing barangay officials instead of proceeding with the October elections.

Pimentel said that the barangay leaders must now prove that Duterte and his anti-drug agencies' reports are false.

"If the barangay is drug-infested, heavily drug-infested, our intelligence community would believe that the barangay leaders are involved in drugs… that is a reasonable conclusion," Pimentel stated.

If only the leaders will make it their mission to end the drug trade in their villages then there's nothing to talk about anymore.

The Congress is still yet to decide whether to postpone the barangay and SK elections or not.

Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Tito Sotto wants the election to be moved on 2018 and at the lower House, they want the election to be postponed until 2020.

President Duterte said on March that barangay elections will be suspended for this year after it was reported to him that 40 percent of barangay officials in drug trade.

"It’s a bit messy. Kasi kapag tinanggal mo rin ang mga gagong ito, magsigawan—we are looking for a way to appoint nalang the barangay captains," he said in press conference at the airport terminal shortly after his arrival from Myanmar and Thailand.

"But ang mechanism to go about it—ako, you know the President has always the power to appoint. But I am going to compromise with the Church and everybody. They can nominate three citizens," he added.

The President said that the appointees must be able to pass the test by security and intelligence group.

"Kaya kayong mga Pilipino, be sure to elect kasi ‘di ko kaya kung ako lang. Wala akong panahon na patayin silang lahat. Tulungan ninyo na ako na ano, iyong next ano, be careful. Be careful with drugs, pera iyan eh," he said.

"Do not commit the mistake of calling elections now because narco-politics has entered into the mainstream of Philippines politics," Duterte said.

Source: INQ, GMA