LEYTE SOLON QUESTIONS INCLUSION ON ‘NARCO-LIST’
Leyte 3rd District Rep. Vicente Veloso answers questions from the media during a press briefing Friday night (March 15, 2019) at his residence in Tacloban City. Veloso has vowed to quit if it is proven that he is a narco-politician. (Photo by Sarwell Meniano)
TACLOBAN CITY — Leyte 3rd District Rep. Vicente Veloso has vowed to step down if it is proven that he is a narco-politician.
The congressman expressed surprise over his inclusion into the so-called Presidential “narco-list”, given his staunch support to the government’s anti-illegal drug campaign.
Speaking to reporters at his residence here Friday night, Veloso said he is not on the narco-list drawn up by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) 8 (Eastern Visayas) here.
“In fact, no politician from the region is included in the narco-list, according to PDEA. The narco-list relies on raw information validated by PDEA on the ground, but the PDEA regional office earlier confirmed that I am not on that list,” he said.
“I am never involved in drugs. I am known as a good performer in Congress,” said Veloso, a neophyte solon and former justice of the Court of Appeals. He chairs the committee on constitutional amendments.
The official added that he has been financing PDEA’s radio program and provides logistics to anti-narcotics agents in their operations in Leyte’s 3rd district. All five towns in the district have been certified by PDEA as drug-cleared.
“I will resign if the top brass of PDEA, Department of the Interior and Local Government, and PNP (Philippine National Police) have proof that I am a narco politician. If you have no proof, you better resign because you have no business being there,” he told reporters.
“They hide under the mantle of immunity of the President since no one can file charges against the President. I welcome the filing of cases because it will give me (a) chance to confront my accusers and witnesses. I don’t need a legal team since I can defend myself,” Veloso said.
He recalled that in one of the Senate hearings conducted by its committee on public order and illegal drugs, he confronted Kerwin Espinosa, self-confessed drug lord of Eastern Visayas.
Espinosa denied that the congressman was involved in the illegal drugs trade and even apologized because the solon’s name was included on the list of politicians whom Espinosa had supposedly dealt with.
“I thought this is over. This is just a rehash of the previous accusation since it is just a month away before election,” Veloso said.
The list, released weeks before the May 13 elections, is meant to stop him from winning in the elections, according to Veloso, who is running for second term under the National Unity Party against former representative Andres Salvacion. (PNA)