In Tinajeros, Malabon City, residents found themselves in a tough and tricky situation on Monday’s Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections.
Barangay Tinajeros is the village that made headlines last April when operatives of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency and Philippine National Police on Friday discovered and dismantled an illegal narcotics laboratory there.
PDEA had tagged the barangay’s popular incumbent chairman, Alvin Mañalac, as an alleged “narcopolitician.”
Despite being named in the PDEA drug watch list released on April 30, the reelectionist candidate is expected, at least by his supporters, to win again as barangay chief in the 20,000-strong Tinajeros village.
Mañalac is one of the one of the nine barangay chairpersons in Metro Manila named in the so-called “narcolist” for allegedly being involved in drug activities. Mañalac’s fellow Malabonian — Hulong Duhat chairman Anthony Velasquez – is also on the list.
Mañalac was the first of the 207 persons on the “narcolist” to face criminal and administrative complaints filed by the PDEA before the Office of the Ombudsman.
The complaint stemmed from a PDEA raid of a shabu/ecstacy lab in his barangay last April.
Mañalac was accused of failing to identify the personalities involved in his barangay’s drug watch list and of failing to have their area declared as “drug-free.”
PDEA Director Aaron Aquino said these constituted acts of being a coddler or protector of drug lords.
Pongan Pepito, a Tinajeros resident, said, “I voted for him because we have witnessed the good that he has done for our community.”
“He’s been a good leader and he has been at the forefront of the fight against drugs,” Pepito said.
“Since he has been chair he has done nothing but promote the welfare of his people,” Ramirez said.
The Inquirer has repeatedly sought Mañalac’s office for comment ever since the watch list was released, but was constantly told that he was “called by (Malabon) Mayor (Lenlen Oreta) for a meeting.”
Oreta, a Liberal Party member, and Mañalac are allies. Mañalac’s nephew Peng is also a Malabon councilor and an LP member.
In a brief interview last week, the younger Mañalac had expressed fears that Mañalac ‘s inclusion in the narcolist was likely “political persecution.”
This was echoed by his mother Mercy on Monday, who said it had been difficult and terrifying for their family.
“As a mother, all I could do is to tell him to stay strong.” She refused to comment further.
According to poll watchers in Tinajeros Elementary School, Mañalac had cast his vote on Monday but quickly left the polling precinct. He is up against his own councilmen: Ryan Geronimo and Alex Centeno.
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