Defeated presidential candidate Mar Roxas on Wednesday broke his silence on reports linking him to some of the police generals whom President Rodrigo Duterte accused of coddling drug lords and syndicates.
“It has come to my attention that some online sites and traditional media outlets have branded certain individuals as “Roxas Generals.” Despite lacking any clear basis, the insinuation is that these individuals campaigned for me in the last election,” Roxas said in a statement to the media.
“To be clear: there are no Roxas Generals.”
The former Interior secretary said no general had ever campaigned for him during the May elections. He resigned from the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) in August last year.
“The persons named were not part of my campaign. My professional working relationship with some of these individuals started when I took over the helm of DILG, and ended when I tendered my resignation in 2015,” he said.
The generals President Rodrigo Duterte named in his speech were Police Director Joel Pagdilao, Chief Supt. Edgardo Tinio, Chief Supt. Bernardo Diaz, retired Deputy Director General Marcelo Garbo and retired Chief Supt. Vicente Loot.
As former DILG secretary overseeing the Philippine National Police, Roxas said he never tolerated illegal drug trade in the police, adding that under his leadership, the PNP was able to seize billions worth of drugs and hundreds were arrested and charged.
“According to media reports, these individuals are allegedly involved in the illegal drug trade. Let me emphasize that I have never supported nor encouraged illegal drugs. It is a plague that afflicts families, rich or poor, and destroys the fabric of family life. During my tenure in the DILG, one of my priorities for the PNP was to escalate the fight against illegal drugs. Billions of pesos worth of illegal drugs were confiscated, and hundreds arrested and charged, in fulfillment of my directives,” he said.
Roxas said charges should be filed against the generals instead of relying to unfounded claims.
“If there is any truth to the allegations that these people have anything to do with the drug trade or those who run it, I believe that the proper course of action is to file charges against them in accordance with due process, instead of engaging in innuendo and circulating rumors,” he said.
Roxas also noted that Loot, who is now the mayor of Daanbantayan, Cebu, campaigned for Duterte before the elections.
“One even ran for mayor and supported President Duterte, not me. One thing is certain: there are still those who attempt to smear my name and reputation, long after the campaign is done,” he said.
He also called on the public to be wary of malicious news articles intended to misinform the people.
“I call on my fellow Filipinos: let us be critical of websites that pretend to report straight news, but in truth only propagate propaganda and misinformation. These sites claim that the persons named are all in the active service, when in truth, two of them are already retired,” he said.