Cagayan town mayor denies family's alleged drug links
CAGAYAN, Philippines – A member of the prominent Antiporda clan from this province denied President Rodrigo Duterte's accusation that their family is involved in illegal drug operations in the Cagayan Valley region.
In a statement released on Saturday, January 21, Buguey Mayor Lloyd Antiporda said Duterte's claim was an "absolute lie, totally baseless, and absurd."
In a speech in Malacañang Palace last Thursday, January 19, the President had named a certain Licerio Antiporda as a "big-time pusher and member" of the "Antiporda drug group."
Mayor Antiporda said information earlier reached their camp that his grandfather, Licerio Antiporda Sr; his father, Licerio Antiporda Jr; and his brother, Licerio Antiporda III – all former mayors – were listed as members of the "Antiporda drug group" that Duterte mentioned in his speech.
But Mayor Antiporda said Licerio Sr already died in 2001 at the age of 91, while Licerio Jr "has been suffering from severe glaucoma in both eyes since 2012."
He added that his brother, Licerio III, has been retired from politics since 2013.
"Aside from the fact that our family has nothing to do with [the] illegal drugs trade, the inclusion of the names of my above-named relatives in the narco-list under the category of local officials is highly implausible in view of the fact that they are no longer in the public service as elected local officials," the Buguey mayor said.
He believes political rivals are behind the "irresponsible" and "wrongful" accusations against his family.
Before the May 2016 elections, the Antiporda family supposedly received reports that they would be accused of involvement in the drug trade.
"Our hearts are broken for [they tainted] our family's good name with false stories, but certainly we will not turn our back against our detractors. The truth is on our side and it shall set us free," the mayor said.
Duterte earlier gave copies of his final drug list to Congress and the Supreme Court, saying he cannot handle the "staggering" drug problem on his own.
More than 7,000 deaths have been linked to Duterte's war on drugs since July 1, 2016, both from police operations and unexplained or vigilante-style killings. – Rappler.com