DILG warns of sanctions vs uncooperative village officials

WINNING a seat in the barangay council entails duties and responsibilities and that includes acting as witnesses in the conduct of physical inventory of confiscated illegal drugs and/or paraphernalia.

Recently, the Iloilo City Police Office – City Drug Enforcement Unit (ICPO-CDEU) reported that some elected officials failed or refused to act as witnesses to the inventory of anti-illegal drugs operations.

The CDEU pointed to an operation at Barangay Bakhaw, Mandurriao where not a single official came to witness the actual inventory

This prompted the team of Superintendent Rogen Morales to write the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG)-Iloilo City about the matter.

In response, Atty. Ferdinand Panes, DILG-Iloilo City director, issued a memorandum to all elected barangay officials.

The memorandum, which was coursed through the Office of the Liga ng mga Barangay, reminded village officials of their duties and responsibilities, particularly in acting as witnesses during illegal drugs operations.

Panes cited Section 21 (1) of Republic Act 9165 (Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002) which mandates that a representative from the media and Department of Justice, and any elected public official will have to witness and sign the post-operation inventory.

Panes also mentioned the Dangerous Drugs Board Resolution No. 3-2017, which mandates the powers of the Barangay Anti-Drug Abuse Council (BADAC) like extending “assistance to law enforcement agencies during the conduct of anti-drug operations.”

“The BADAC chairman or any elected official present during anti-drug operations should sign the inventory of seized drugs and paraphernalia.”

Under DILG Memorandum Circular No. 2015-63, barangay officials present in the anti-drug operations were must also witness the inventory of seized items.

“Thus, you are strongly advised to strictly abide by the foregoing provisions of law, rules, and regulations. Violations of the same if a ground for administrative actions against erring elected barangay official,” Panes stressed.

Senior Inspector Shella Mae Sangrines, ICPO spokesperson, said they have yet to receive an official reply from Panes’ office regarding the CDEU’s concern.

“The memorandum could be a part of the action the DILG has taken in response to our query,” she added.

In its letter dated July 2, the CDEU stated, “that during the conduct of the actual inventory, officials of the barangays failed to perform their duty to act as witnesses during the actual inventory of the seized items.”

The barangays officials mentioned include the late Barangay Captain Remia Prevendido Gregori, and Barangay Kagawads Norberto Prevendido, Yorelinda Palomo, Joel Alvarado, Rennie Tejam, Norberto Balasa, Ricardo Halaman, and Gemma Palmos.

Gregori, who was earlier tagged as a high-value target (HVT) level 3 drug personality, was killed by still unidentified assailants on June 24.

“The act of barangay officials of the said Barangay will hamper in the future the prosecution of the case against the suspects. As CDEU operatives, we respectfully appeal to inform you to remind once against barangay officials not only of Bakhaw to cooperate and to perform their duty and responsibilities during the conduct of drug operations in the respective areas,” Tilano said.

The June 21 operation mentioned in the CDEU letter resulted in the arrest of Mary Rose Broce alias “Mayang,” 39, a call center agent and resident of Barangay San Jose, San Miguel, Iloilo; Joseph Bañas, 30, of Barangay Bakhaw, Mandurriao; and Carla Broce, 43, a call center agent from Bakhaw.

Mary Rose was the subject of the operation while Bañas allegedly conspired with her.

Carla was arrested for obstruction of justice.

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