MANILA, Philippines - Ilocos Sur Gov. Luis "Chavit" Singson on Tuesday insisted his son, Ilocos Sur congressman Ronald Singson, is not a drug user and warned Congress not to expel him until he is proven guilty of bringing cocaine and diazepam to Hong Kong.
In an interview, the Ilocos Sur governor admitted his son sometimes takes pills because he suffers from a sleeping disorder.
"He uses pills. He's been hospitalized several times. When he has attacks he can't sleep, that's why he had 2 pills. Those pills were issued by his doctor. That's the only thing he uses," he said in an interview on ABS-CBN's Umagang Kay Ganda.
Asked if Ronald is a drug user, he said: "He is not. Ronald is not."
Singson also warned the House of Representatives against taking any action against his son until his case is resolved.
"I am appealing to Congress since my son is one of their colleagues. Wag niyo na dagdagan ang problema dahil biktima lang ang anak ko. Kung pusher o trafficker ang anak ko, wag na po silang lalayo. Ako na ang papatay. Dapat patayin ang mga pusher o drug trafficker na yan," he said.
"There will be no problem if he is convicted but right now his case isn't finished yet...Tapusin ang kaso saka tanggalin kung gusto nila," he added.
Ronald Singson was arrested at the Customs arrival hall of Chek Lap Kok International Airport last July 11, 2010 for possession of 26.1 grams of cocaine and 2 tablets of diazepam, more commonly known as Valium.
A copy of Singson's charge sheet obtained by ABS-CBN News showed that Singson has been charged with trafficking of a dangerous drug.
Under existing law, suspects summarily convicted of bringing 10-50 grams of illegal substances such as cocaine or heroine to Hong Kong could be fined HK$500,000 (P2.9 million) and imprisonment of 3 to 8 years. This is the minimum penalty for Singson if he pleads guilty and is convicted of the crime.
On the other hand, Singson could be fined up to HK$5,000,000 (P29.7 million) and suffer imprisonment of 3 years to life if he pleads innocent but is convicted of drug trafficking.
Several congressmen have called for the expulsion of Singson from the list of members of the House of Representatives.
Former Muntinlupa congressman Ruffy Biazon said the possible expulsion is "the bitter pill" that Congressman Singson must take if he is convicted of drug charges.
"Madadamay ang reputasyon ng Kamara...Masisira ang image ng House. It will not be a popular decision if this is just let go without doing anything. The institution will suffer," he said.
Singson's lawyer, John Reading, said the Ilocos Sur congressman will plead guilty to the charge of trafficking a dangerous drug in a hearing on January 26. He said the defense had offered to admit a lesser charge of "possession" of the drug on two previous occasions but the deal was rejected by the prosecution who insisted Singson was importing the drug into Hong Kong.
The Ilocos Sur governor, however, said his son is only admitting to possession of illegal drugs and not trafficking. He said the admission was a legal strategy so his son would not be jailed before the new year.
"He was supposed to go back to prison, which was why we were very sad since he would have to spend New Year in prison. The lawyer convinced us to admit so he wouldn't be jailed," he said.
He also said Ronald was framed because he was singled out by Hong Kong immigration authorities and that the drugs were found inside a bottle instead of a sachet.