Catanduanes gov denies hand in journo's murder

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 27 2017 10:06 AM

MANILA - Catanduanes Governor Joseph Cua on Thursday denied allegations linking him to the fatal shooting of a journalist who allegedly discovered his links to the illegal drug trade.

Cua told radio DZMM there is no witness who could tie him to the murder of Larry Que, a community newspaper publisher who was allegedly set to publish an exposé on the governor's use of his transportation business to move narcotics to and from Catanduanes.

"Walang lumabas na witness, unsolved crime ito. Parang lumalabas sa perception ng iyung tunay na involved dito, wala sa attention ng authority at ng tao," the governor said.

He added: "May mga gustong mag-governor ng Catanduanes na gustong sirain ang pangalan ko."

Cua and 2 others were earlier charged for the murder of Que last December.

It was also around the same month that the governor vehemently denied any connection to a "" in Virac that can produce hundreds of kilos of methamphetamine daily.

Allegations of the governor's illegal activities swirled again on Wednesday after Dangerous Drugs Board chairman Dionisio Santiago reportedly confirmed Cua's ties to the drug trade.

DBB chairman Dionisio Santiago said he received reports of Cua's supposed ties to narcotics rings back when he was still director general of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency from 2006 to 2011, the Manila Standard reported.

GOVERNOR ON DEFENSE

Cua, however, said neither the PDEA nor the national police investigated him for drug-related offenses during his first 2 terms as governor between 2007 and 2013.

Cua lost in the 2013 gubernatorial race, but was re-elected in the May 2016 elections.

The shabu lab being tied to him, he noted, was constructed in 2015, when he was not in public office.

"Kung involved po ako diyan, dapat noong panahon kong previous term, 2007, dapat lumabas na iyan," he said.

Cua also alleged that Que was connected to the meth facility and had earned P1.5 million in drug payoffs every week, according to the affidavit of a hitman who declined an offer to kill the journalist.

The hitman, Cua said, claimed Que's weekly shares fell to P500,000 after President Rodrigo Duterte took office and launched his war on drugs last year.

Que's alleged fellow drug runners supposedly had him killed after he complained about the cut in his share of drug money, Cua said.