MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews / 3 August) – Bukidnon Governor Jose Ma. R. Zubiri Jr. said the self-confessed drug pushers who surrendered to him did so because they were afraid of getting killed if they gave themselves up to the police.
In an interview Wednesday over dxDB-Radyo Veritas Malaybalay, Zubiri said 42 suspected drug pushers had surrendered to him so far.
He said the suspects were afraid they would be placed in the custody of police officers who might be involved in illegal drugs.
“All of them surrendered directly to me, no one was endorsed by the police. In the first district they approached me through provincial board member Jay Albarece,” he said.
He said he turned them over to the National Bureau of Investigation regional office in Cagayan de Oro City for investigation.
But the governor said the NBI-Region 10 found that only 32 of the 42 suspects were real pushers based on its investigation. “The others were just users.”
Zubiri said all but five suspects were already released. He said the NBI told him that the five suspects – one each from Malaybalay City and Talakag town, and three from Maramag town – had to remain in their custody because they’re facing grave cases as “junior drug lords.”
“The NBI will send the results of the investigation to their main office in Manila. If there are mayors, vice mayors or kagawads who are involved, we will know it from the NBI. But they have given no report to me,” he said.
“We’re taking care of the pushers first. I’m not entertaining users because they will undergo a different process,” he said, adding the provincial government is giving pushers who would surrender P25,000 each.
Asked to comment on a report from the provincial police office that close to 10,000 drug suspects, around 1,500 of them alleged pushers, had surrendered as of July 15, Zubiri replied: “I don’t know about it. I don’t know where they surrendered because I wasn’t there.”
In the same interview, he denied rumors that his nephew and Malaybalay City Mayor Ignacio Zubiri was undergoing rehabilitation as a drug addict.
“That’s a lie. He (Mayor Zubiri) asked to go on vacation after election because it’s the first time for his wife to go abroad,” he said.
The governor said the rumors were started by a newspaper publisher in Cagayan de Oro, whom he did not name.
Mayor Zubiri ran unopposed in this year’s elections.
After the elections, however, rumors were rife he was arrested for drug use and made to undergo rehabilitation. Vice Mayor Roland Deticio has been the acting mayor since July. (H. Marcos C. Mordeno / MindaNews)