Palace: LP afraid of its own ghost

Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 27 2017 12:35 PM | Updated as of Oct 27 2017 02:05 PM

MANILA (UPDATE)- Malacañang on Friday said it has nothing to do with the testimony of an alleged drug cartel bagman who tagged Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon and former Interior Secretary Mar Roxas in the illegal drug trade in the Visayas.

Alleged drug cartel bagman Ricky Serenio has claimed in an affidavit that Drilon and Roxas were protectors of slain "drug lord" Melvin Odicta Sr., an allegation denied by the two Liberal Party (LP) stalwarts.

Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said the once ruling LP was just “afraid of its own ghost” after saying the administration was ”going all-out to demonize" the party and "divert attention" from pressing issues.

"The administration has nothing to do with the testimony of a drug cartel bagman Mr. Ricky Serenio implicating Senator Franklin Drilon and former secretary Mar Roxas to the illegal drug trade in the Visayas,” Abella said in a statement.

"The Liberal Party is afraid of its own ghost after conducting several witch hunt investigations against their perceived political enemies when they were in power.”

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II had said Monday that a preliminary investigation could be conducted since Serenio's affidavit may serve as a complaint.

The LP called Serenio’s allegation baseless, adding that “it appears this administration has the habit of manufacturing 'witnesses' who have questionable record and reputation, just like what it did to Senator Leila de Lima, who is now languishing in jail due to testimonies of convicted criminals serving jail sentences." 

De Lima has been detained since February over allegations she was involved in the drug trade at the national penitentiary. She has decried the charges as political persecution.

The party told the administration that instead of "swallowing the words of the so-called bagman and wasting time," it should focus on finding the culprits behind the entry of P6.4-billion worth of shabu that slipped past port inspections in May.

In a separate statement, Sen. Francis Pangilinan, the LP president, said the accusations were made up to divert public attention from the shabu smuggling controversy and drug-related killings. 

"Kalokohan at gawa-gawa lang ito ng administrasyon para ilihis ang usapin sa mga kontrobersiya na kinasasangkutan nito. Kung gusto nila habulin ang tunay na nasa likod ng mga sindikato ng droga sa bansa, habulin nila ang mga nagpuslit ng (P6.4 billion) na shabu sa BOC," Pangilinan said. 

He said the Department of Justice should stop manufacturing evidence either to pin critics or spare allies.