MAGANES: Pangasinan No.1!
Pangasinan is in the limelight once again. It is, indeed, number one being the talk of the town these days even in the social media worldwide. The pointing of the finger signifying that Pangasinan is “number one” proves true. But this time, it’s President Rodrigo “Digong” Duterte who has pointed his finger, not on Pangasinan being number one in accomplishments and development, but pointing to personalities in the province to be at the helm of the New Bilibid Prison’s (NBP) illegal drug trading.
Last August 25 at 3:00 in the morning, President Duterte, during a press conference in Davao City, released a so-called ‘drug link matrix” at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) naming Senator Leila De Lima, her driver Ronnie Palisoc Dayan of Galarin, Urbiztondo, retired General Franklin Jesus Bucayu, a certain SPO1 Palisoc and other four known personalities in Pangasinan- former Justice Undersecretary Francisco “Toti” Baraan III, former Provincial Administrator Rafael”Raffy” Baraan, 2nd District Board Member Raul Sison and former Governor, now 5th District Rep. Amado T. Espino Jr. as those behind the illegal drug trading.
The release of the “matrix,” which was shelved for weeks due to validation, surprised the whole nation particularly the Pangasinenses. It was a shocking revelation from no other than the President of the country that until now, the news has not subsided. I, too, was dumbfounded after reading the news. I could not believe that two friends of mine (having been associated with them for a long time) -the Baraan brothers – were included in the said matrix. I asked myself. ” Was the matrix prepared just because of the hatred of President Duterte for Senator De Lima? Was it a product of thorough investigation and surveillance?”
My questions were answered by Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar who said in a press briefing that the matrix was a product of investigation and monitoring by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and Philippine National Police (PNP). The links of the above-named personalities, he said, have been established with proper pieces of evidence that will be released in due time.
What were the contents of the ” drug link matrix” and how are the named personalities connected with each other?
At the helm is Senator De Lima with an arrow towards the right linking her to Ronnie Palisoc Dayan, her driver and alleged lover. Dayan is said to be a “case fixer” at the DOJ and referred to as ” Boss De Lima.” He’s alleged to be receiving drug payola from General Bucayu through a certain SPO1 Palisoc. Apparently, that Palisoc is a relative of Dayan whose middle name is Palisoc. A note said that a certain Ms. Cardenosa, an employee of the municipal government of Urbiztondo, is the dummy of Dayan. From Dayan, an arrow downward connects to Board Member Raul Sison, a known close ally of Rep. Espino when he was still the governor of Pangasinan. How Sison was connected to the link is not clear in the matrix.
Pangasinan No.1! Downward from USEC Baraan, an arrow connects him to his brother former Provincial Administrator Raffy Baraan, described as being “used by Espino to cover all his illegal activities.” It said “he knew about all illegal activities of Gov. Espino.” Baraan is connected with an arrow to former governor, now Rep. Espino, including that of Sison and General Bucayu, who was also a graduate of the prestigious Philippine Military Academy (PMA).
At the bottom of the matrix is Espino with notes ” charged with plunder/on bail on illegal mining case,” “involved in black sand mining, quarrying and jueteng.” It was also said that “Gov. Espino is the richest politician in the Northern Luzon,” allegedly stated by Board Member Sison and “has amassed unexplained wealth.” The connections of each other are clear in the matrix. Each one knows each other.
In the afternoon of August 25, Rep. Espino called a press conference. He denied his participation in the said matrix claiming that he did not have close alliance with Senator De Lima. However, he did not deny his close alliances with the other personalities- USEC Baraan, Raffy Baraan, General Bucayu, Ronnie Palisoc Dayan and Board Member Sison. He said that he was the co-author of the Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 when he was still the representative of 2nd District of Pangasinan, has been fighting illegal drugs when he was the governor of Pangasinan, re-activated municipal and barangay anti-drug abuse councils and giving substantial budget for anti-drugs campaign.
He also said that during the May 2016 elections, he and his family campaigned hard for Duterte, a statement that shocked me, because openly his namesake son who is now the Governor of Pangasinan was seen campaigning with the Liberal Party candidates, although they were the candidates of Aksyon Demokratiko Party. He also said in the press conference that the illegal mining issue has been resolved with eight complainants said that “it was politically motivated” and that no single grain of black sand was transported outside the province of Pangasinan. This part of his statement was unbelievable. The two cases of illegal black sand mining are still at the 6th Division of Sandiganbayan with a pre-trial conference on September 12. Espino has a hold departure order, filed bails on the two cases with a pending motion from the Office of the Ombudsman for him to be placed under preventive suspension.These are all legal matters that he has to face, but denying them to the public is not acceptable. Why not say the truth Rep. Espino?
Now, let’s go back to the “drug link matrix.” If I were Espino, it’s better not to talk about it. He should have executed an affidavit denying his participation in the link. Why it is so? Suppose, President Duterte has all the evidence linking him to the drug trade at the NBP, all what he said to the media were “self-serving statements”. We should remember that the best defense is “denial”.
I am not saying that Espino and his allies are indeed connected with the “drug link matrix.” That has to be proven in courts with due process. What I am saying is that he should be aware that President Duterte’s war against illegal drugs is no joke. It should not be taken lightly. Whether or not Espino and those names mentioned in the matrix have participation in the illegal drug trading, that is a personal problem they have to face.
Personally, I am not taking the matrix in its “face value” until such time that evidence will be presented by President Duterte. Meantime, let’s face their innocence until proven guilty.
(For comments and suggestions, email me at email@example.com. Visit my blog “The Roving Pen” at http://www.virgilmaganes.wordpress.com. Listen to my radio program “VIRGIL MAGANES SA DWPR” aired over DWPR Radyo Asenso, 1296 KHZ AM Band at 8:00-9:00 AM, Mondays to Saturdays.)
Entry filed under: News.