“I am innocent,” thus declared El Nido Mayor Nieves “Bing” Rosento after being called-out and named Thursday evening by President Rodrigo Duterte as one of the narco-politicians in the country.
In an exclusive interview with Palawan Daily News, Mayor Rosento said that she categorically denies being involved in the illegal drugs trade.
“We are innocent po dito sa accusation. At we will be presenting ourselves po para sa re-investigation. Definitely po na we deny; isang simpleng tao lamang po tayo, isang simpleng public servant. Totally po ay wala po tayong kinalaman about illegal drug trading,” Mayor Rosento said in a phone interview.
The Mayor, who has long been leading the demolition of erring establishments and rehabilitation of El Nido, said that most probably there are businesses or individuals that are not happy with her actions, and with these, could have implicated her as a drug protector.
“This is not about politics. This is also about mga ilang nasasasagi po nating mga malalaking establishments na nasasara natin because of rehabilitation. It might be na may ilan pong nag-implicate sa atin.”
Last November 2017, Mayor Rosento’s power over police forces in El Nido was removed.
“Dati po kasi last November 2017, nawalan po tayo ng jurisdiction ng police. From then on, from 2017, nag-submit po tayo sa DILG at PNP, at may nag investigate din po sa amin. And they went here to El Nido, naghingi sila ng SALN. Dine-deny po natin talaga ang accusation.”
She added that she was surprised being included since she has been submitted herself for investigation.
“Nakakapagtaka po talaga. I am just an ordinary [person]. I don’t have any goons; I don’t have any bodyguards. We are not corrupt in Palawan. And mostly kung maano po natin, karamihan po ng mga dumadating dito, mga pusher at user dito, halos wala na po gumagawa nyan dito.”
According to Mayor Rosento, the local government unit of El Nido has been very active in the support against drugs and has been supportive to the campaigns and programs to eliminate illegal drug trade and use.
“We have the community enhancement and livelihood program. We employed (drug surrenderees); and they went back to normal life. Pinapalalakas po natin ang youth natin. We have youth congress this coming 18. For almost three years, we improve the sports development program; we increase the support to the PNP. We increase the support to the intelligence. Kaya nga po pinapalakas natin. We have apprehension dito sa El Nido, but mostly sa mga nahuhuli, hindi naman po nagmumula sa bayan po natin; they are just only transient here. Pero dahil po sa intelligence network, talagang napapalakas pa at hindi sila makakapag operate. Marami na pong nagbago.”
Mayor Rosento said that she and the LGU of El Nido firmly support the president for the all-out war against drugs.
“We support the President’s call to eliminate drugs in the country.”
“Sa mga kababyaan po natin, kami po ay nanawagan. Alam naman po ninyo na hindi ko naman kelangan magpaliwanag. Open book po ang aking buhay. Open po ang buhay ng aming pamilya. We have never been abusive being a public servant. At bilang ina, hindi ko po natotolerate ang illegal drugs in town. May mga anak po ako at may mga apo po. Sana naman po mauunawaan naman po niyo ang inyong mahal na mayor,” Mayor Rosento added.