Barangay officials cry foul after being accused of not having anti-drug abuse councils

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 1) — Several barangay officials speak out against the charges hurled against them by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).

Officials from barangays in Metro Manila are facing administrative charges for allegedly failing to establish Barangay Anti-Drug Abuse Councils (BADAC), which are the communities' first line of defense against the spread of illegal drugs, according to the DILG.

Sixteen barangays were found not to have established BADAC – which is composed of barangay officials and sectoral organizations.

The DILG filed charges against five barangay chairmen Monday, while the remaining 11 will be charged within the week.

The officials charged by the DILG are:

Chairman Ruby Perez - Barangay 471, Manila

Chairman Adorado Palad - Barangay 477, Manila

Chairman Mirasol Magalong - Barangay 482, Manila

Chairman Ligaya Santos - Barangay 659-A, Manila

Chairman Josefa Mendoza - Barangay 690, Manila

The DILG will also ask the Ombudsman to issue preventive suspension orders against the involved barangay officials.

One of the accused, however, said he is wondering why he was among those charged.

"Buwan-buwan kami nagmi-meeting. Pinag-uusapan namin ang BADAC, mga nag-aadik dito sa amin. Wala naman na, pero nagrereport pa rin kami sa Barangay Bureau monthly," Barangay 477 chairman Palad said.

[Translation: We meet monthly. We discuss BADAC, and how many addicts are in our community. There aren't anymore, but we still report to the Barangay Bureau monthly.]

Meanwhile, Barangay 471 chairman Perez also said her barangay council already passed a resolution creating BADAC in 2017, and submitted an updated list of BADAC members to the DILG-Manila on April 23, 2018.

She said, 'We just have to face it. And hope na may simple explanation, because truth is the simplest explanation e, will merit di ba, the dropping of the charges."

[Translation: We just have to face it. And hope that there's a simple explanation because truth is the simplest explanation (and) will merit the dropping of the charges.]

Meanwhile. DILG Assistant Secretary RJ Echiverri said those accused have to prove their claims in court.

"If they are claiming that they have an organized BADAC, then they have the means to present and prove their innocence. Kami [We], we just relying on what the work and validation DILG-NCR and Manila Chapter have done. We cannot even validate. Pwede naman silang mag-counter sue, wala pong problema sa amin yun [They can counter sue, it isn't a problem with us]...You continuously ignore the request. Patunayan mo na walang memo ang DILG sa inyo na magsubmit [Prove that the DILG did not give you a memo to submit]," he said.