CAGAYAN, Philippines – No less than the governor is saying that politicians are the “big protectors” of drug lords in this province, site of a recent big drug bust that yielded over a billion worth of shabu.
Governor Manuel Mamba said on Wednesday, July 6, that the illegal drug trade has been a problem in Cagayan for the longest time largely due to the absence of a serious effort to run after syndicates operating here.
“The province is at center stage because of these two incidents in Claveria. I believe that behind these are big protectors who are politicians. It has been happening before and continues to happen now. The people behind this [are also behind] election results in the town of Claveria,” Mamba said.
Various government agencies on July 3 seized over a billion worth of shabu (methamphetamine hydrochloride) in the town of Claveria, which is located in the northwest tip of Cagayan.
Authorities have yet to determine where the over 200 kilos of shabu had come from. An official of the Cagayan provincial police office said it is likely the drugs could have been smuggled from mainland China or Taiwan.
Police said the modus operandi is for fishermen to go out into the sea pretending to fish when in reality they would be fetching contraband from the mainland or Taiwan.
Drugs and politics
Mamba said that Claveria village chairman Victor Tumaneng, who was arrested on June 24, was tagged as the No. 1 drug lord in the town. Yet, he is also known to be the man behind every successful candidate in the town.
“Itong kapitan na ‘to is the fulcrum kung sino ang mananalong mayor sa Claveria. Kung saan siya babanda, ‘yun ang nanalong mayor. When he was with the Layus, Layus won. When he got out of Layus and went to Bolante, Bolate won. And when he got out of Bolante and went back to Layus, Layus won,” Mamba said. (This chairman was the fulcrum in the election campaign…as to who will win for mayor in Claveria. When he was with Layus, Layus won. When he [left] Layus and went to Bolante, Bolate won. And when he [left] Bolante and went back to Layus, Layus won.)
He added that Tumaneng’s own son, Richmond Jay, won as top councilor of Clarveria in the last polls.
Mamba also noted that former Senator Juan Ponce Enrile had been blocking raids against the illegal operations in the province.
“Bakit ngayon ay nakakapag-raid na ang otoridad sa Cagayan na nataon na wala na sa poder ang mga Enrile, ” he said. (Why is it only now, when Enrile is out of power, that authorities were able to raid drug operations in Cagayan?)
Enrile’s son, Jack Enrile, failed in his comeback bid as Cagayan First District Representative in the May elections, losing to Ramon Nolasco. It was the Enriles’ first loss in their home province.
Mamba is a Liberal Party stalwart and a known nemesis of Enrile. His campaign message has been focused on bringing down the Enriles. – Rappler.com