MANILA—The nephew of Caesar Perez alleged that the Los Baños, Laguna mayor’s inclusion in a “collated narco list” was the reason he was murdered, rejecting the notion his uncle had anything to do with the sale of illegal drugs.
In a Facebook post Tuesday, CJ Perez said Perez even personally went to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) to clear his name, and he “faced everything” despite the accusations.
Last year, Perez was included in the Duterte administration's list of politicians with alleged links to illegal drugs.
Perez had denied any involvement in the illegal drug trade and blasted the release of the list as "unfair" and politically motivated.
“Ilang taon syang humarap at nagpabalik balik sa PDEA para malinis ang pangalan nya, pinresenta nya ang sarili nya, hindi sya nagtago, hinarap nya lahat.. dahil sa isang ‘collated intel list’ na inilabas at ngayon ay itinatanggi.. at sa pagsabing ‘your father must be an exemption…’ tuluyan nang naghugas ng kamay,” the Perez nephew said.
(He went to PDEA repeatedly for how many years to clear his name, he presented himself and did not hide. He faced everything. But because of an intel released that is now being denied, and for saying ‘your father must be an exception,’ you are washing your hands.)
Duterte in his public address on Monday condoled with the family, denying that he was the one responsible for the latter's inclusion in his so-called "narco list."
"I'm sorry if your father was there, but really, most of those, nasa droga talaga. Your father might be an exception, if you believe firmly that he was not guilty or liable of anything, well that's good. But the problem, his name, umabot sa listahan," Duterte said.
But Perez’s nephew said that the list led to a great loss for the mayor’s family and the residents of Los Baños.
The mayor served in government for 30 years, CJ said, from barangay chairman to mayor, because “the citizens of Los Baños called for Perez’s return.”
“Pero sa ginawa nyo, hindi nyo ba alam na hindi lang kami ang naulila? Ang mga scholar, mga magsasaka, mga trabahador, mga organisasyon, mga unibersidad, mga instititusyon na katuwang ang ama ng Los Baños… na hanggang sa huli sumisigaw ng hustisya..maaring may pumalit, maaring may magpatuloy... inulila nyo ang buong bayan,” the younger Perez said said.
(You do not know how this is a great loss because of what you people did. The scholars, farmers, workers, organizations, universities, institutions he partnered with are screaming for justice. He could be replaced but the whole city is mourning for the loss of a father.)
Unidentified gunmen shot the Los Baños mayor at the back of the town hall building around 8:40 p.m, on Dec. 3, according to police.
Authorities are looking at 2 possible suspects behind the killing based on CCTV footage from nearby establishments.
Police said they spotted 2 men wearing face masks loitering at the scene before the shooting took place.
Perez was simple, approachable
In an interview with ABS-CBN News, Perez described his uncle as simple, who was willing to help the residents of Los Baños.
“A great leader… A great man, he always puts others before himself, sobrang simple, walang arte sa katawan, approachable, and mapagbiro lalo na pag nag coconduct ng weddings or nasa mga events,” he said.
(He is very simple and has a sense of humor most especially during weddings or events.)
He added that the mayor disdained complicated processes for a resident to air grievances.
“Kahit sino pwedeng lumapit..dumaing, humingi ng tulong... kapag kailangan mo sya, haharapin ka nya..nakaupo sa kanyang silya, naka puting damit, slacks, at simpleng tsinelas, nagkakape, nagyoyosi, nagpapahangin.. pero dun ka din nila itinumba, sa lugar na kung saan, saksi ang karamihan ng mamamayan kung pano mo sila natulungan,” he said.
(Anyone could approach him and ask for help. If you need him, he would be there sitting, wearing white t-shirt, slacks, simple slippers while holding his coffee or cigarette, getting fresh air. But no, they killed you at the same exact spot where many witnessed how generous you were in helping them.)
The Department of Justice has already ordered the National Bureau of Investigation to conduct a probe and case buildup for Perez.
The Los Baños mayor is the 22nd top local government official killed under the Duterte administration since he assumed the presidency in 2016.