Lingayen – The Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) rallies behind former Pangasinan Governor and now 5thdistrict Representative Amado T. Espino, Jr., Board Member Raul Sison and former Provincial Administrator Rafael Baraan who were tagged as alleged subjects in the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) ‘drug matrix’ released by President Rodrigo Duterte at the wee hours of August 25.
The SP convened a special session to pass Provincial Resolutions Nos. 114, 115 and 116 – 2016 to express full faith, trust and confidence in the integrity and competence of prominent sons of Pangasinan, Cong. Espino, Jr., BM Sison and former PA Baraan who were allegedly involved in the ‘drug matrix’ which includes former Justice Secretary now Senator Leila de Lima.
Maintaining its full-support to Gov. Espino, the SP underscored that during his nine years of good governance as provincial chief executive, “There is no iota of doubt that he had been involved in such an illegal drug trade operation insideand even outside the political jurisdiction of the province.”
“The SP is of firm belief that any insinuation of Rep. Espino’s involvement to the NBP drug matrix would not at all affect his integrity as former governor of Pangasinan and his competence in the performance of his duties and responsibilities as 5th district representative,” Provincial Resolution No. 114-2016 states.
Evident with Espino’s relentless war against illegal drugs, he authored the monumental piece of legislation – Republic Act No. 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 when he was a congressman a decade ago.
Saddened by the alleged involvement of one colleague to the drug trade, the SP puts on record that the august body has been a witness to the political career of BM Sison who has not been tainted with any controversy.
Sison joined the provincial board first as representative of the Pangasinan Councilors’ League and now he is completing his third and last term as second district board member.
SP members have also expressed full trust and confidence to former PA Baraan who served under the terms of the former governor, attesting that the former provincial official performed his job in good faith and not in any manner of self-service.
“The 6th to 8th SP including the present 9th have found an ally with the former provincial administrator for he has been cooperative, approachable and of great assistance to its legislative works, endeavors and concerns,” Provincial Resolution No. 116-2016 reads.
Rep. Espino denied yesterday, August 25 noon his alleged involvement in the NBP drug matrix.
In a press conference held in Dagupan City, Rep. Espino said he has never been associated with Sen. de Lima as he stressed that the former Justice Secretary was instrumental in pursuing the investigation of a fabricated murder case against him at the height of the campaign period for 2013 mid-term elections.
Espino said the drug issues hurled at him disregards the fact that he devoted his military and police service and his career as a politician being a former congressman and governor in seriously pushing for the eradication of illegal drugs.
Pangasinan, under Espino’s term saw the full-activation of the provincial anti-drug abuse council in cooperation with the police force and eventually the municipal/city anti-drug abuse council and the barangay anti-drug abuse council.
/Mark Gerry Naval Oblanca