MANILA - A former town mayor accused by President Duterte of engaging in the narcotics trade is actually a public doctor campaigning for the prevention of illegal drug use.
Dr. Jessie Aguilera served as mayor of Alegria, Surigao del Sur from 1998 to 2007, and has since been the head health officer of neighboring Mainit town.
Aguilera's pet advocacy is educating the youth on the harms of illegal drug use.
"As a doctor, nagsusulong po ako ng adbokasiya na anti-illegal drugs. Alam ng mga tao dito, yearly po kami nagpupunta sa mga high school at secondary school para sa adbokasiyang ganoon," she told radio DZMM.
(As a doctor, I promote an anti-illegal drugs advocacy. You can ask the residents here, we visit high schools and secondary schools for our advocacy.)
Aguilera said she was surprised and puzzled when President Duterte named her on Sunday as a drug coddler, along with 150 other individuals from local governments, law enforcement agencies and the judiciary.
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She said she leads a simple lifestyle with her meager government salary. Her house is only valued at P1.5 million and her vehicle is a 2006 model, she added.
Aguilera, however, admitted that she has a a nephew who was arrested for illegal possession of firearms and later tested positive for drug use.
"Malaki na iyun, hindi ko naman kontralado ang ginagawa niya." (He is already a grown-up. I can't control what he does.)
The doctor also noted that none of the 300 drug suspects who recently surrendered to Alegria authorities have linked her to their illicit activities.
Sharing how the drug controversy affected her family, Aguilera pleaded with the President to clear her from his allegations.
"Ang panawagan ko kay Presidente, sana linisin din niya iyung pangalan ko, magkaroon ng imbestigasyon dito sa akin. Kawawa naman iyung pamilya ko," she said. (I ask the President to clear my name through an investigation. I feel sorry for my family.)
"Iyung mga kapatid ko nga, muntik nang mapaaway sa palengke kasi mayroong mga tsismis na ganoon. Iyung mga anak ko, minsan mayroon nang nagtatanong." (My siblings were almost caught in a brawl because of the rumors. People have also been asking my children about the issue.)
Aguilera has reported to the police to deny her alleged drug links.
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