DATE: October 15, 2021

The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) is discouraging the public from casting their votes for drug-tainted candidates seeking election in the coming May 2022 polls.

PDEA Director General Wilkins M Villanueva issued the warning in light of the recent arrest of a mayoralty candidate and four others during a checkpoint operation in Mountain Province.

On Oct 13, 2021, joint elements of PDEA Regional Office-Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) under the direct supervision of Director Gil Cesario Castro; and local police conducted an interdiction/ checkpoint operation in Oowayen, Barangay Poblacion, Sadanga that led to the arrest of Sonny Kalaw, a former police officer and a mayoralty candidate of Sabangan, Mountain Province; and four cohorts.

Seized during the operation were 19 bricks of dried marijuana leaves, with an estimated street value of ₱2,280,000.00; and one black Toyota HiAce Grandia.

“Dismiss candidates who are involved in illegal drug activities. They do not deserve your votes. We urge the voting public to choose wisely our next leaders,” Villanueva said.

In all likelihood, reelectionists and prospective bets who act in collusion with drug syndicates might continue to lord it over the polls. Drug money may seep into the electoral process, funding the campaign of certain politicians seeking positions in the government in exchange for protection and self-preservation.

“Your vote is precious and please treat it that way. If we want to attain drug-free communities, we should opt for leaders who genuinely defend the nation from illegal drugs,” The PDEA chief said.

# # #