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A day after he and his brother were sued by an anticrime group for allegedly being soft on the drug menace, Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista stressed that he has been an antidrug advocate since his years in show business and that he had no hand in the selection of two city police chiefs earlier linked by President Duterte to the narcotics trade.
Writing from Oslo, Norway, where he currently serves as adviser to the government panel in the revived peace talks with communist rebels, Bautista assailed the “controversial” statements made against him by Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) chair Dante Jimenez.
“I am not and will never involve myself in the illegal drug trade. Antidrug is my advocacy since I was 17 years old,” Bautista, who entered politics in 1986, said in a statement sent to reporters on Saturday.
The VACC on Friday filed a complaint in the Office of the Ombudsman accusing Bautista of “dereliction of duty” and failing to control the city’s drug problem, as well as his brother, 4th District Councilor Hero Bautista, for admitting that he used illegal drugs
No say in QCPD selection
“(Jimenez) is concluding that because the two generals linked in the illegal drug trade were former Quezon City Police District chiefs, ergo the mayor is (involved), too,” Bautista said. He was referring to former QCPD directors Chief Supt. Edgardo Tinio and Chief Supt. Joel Pagdilao.
“Just for the record, I am not involved in choosing the district director of QCPD. Even if the law provides that local chief executives will have to choose from among three to five names from the list given by the (Philippine National Police), not a single list reached me,” the mayor said.
Even before he became mayor in 2010, it was already a practice to appoint the district director “without any consultation or ‘courtesy’ (to the mayor),” he said.
He recalled that since the term of then Mayor Adelina Rodriguez in 1976, it has been the vice mayor who is tasked to oversee local antidrug programs and projects.
Bautista also defended himself against criticism that he has been soft on his own brother Hero, who is now undergoing a six-month rehabilitation program.
“[W]hen this controversy arose, many were asking why didn’t I bother to scold (Hero) or proactively take action about my brother’s drug use,” he said. “Hero is 48 years old, has his own family, is independent from us. We barely see or talk to each other because we, as individuals, have our own set of lives and concerns.”
Bautista stressed that he was “proud” that his younger brother was “taking full responsibility for his actions.”