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N. Mindanao’s top narc tags Tagarda: ‘Protector’

By NITZ ARANCON, JOEY NACALABAN, LITO RULONA and JIGGER JERUSALEM
Correspondents .

PHILIPPINE Drugs Enforcement Agency regional director Wilkins Villanueva yesterday accused Misamis Oriental provincial jail warden Dominador Tagarda of serving as a protector of his two sons who were arrested yesterday for their alleged involvement in the local drug trade.

A handcuffed drug suspect, Gregor Tagarda, gestures as he tries to hide his face following his arrest in Barangay Carmen yesterday morning. The suspect is a son of Misamis Oriental provincial jail warden Dominador Tagarda. (photo by Nitz Arancon)

Villanueva told reporters the jail warden has been placed in the PDEA watch list, and would be charged by the Agency.

Villanueva called for the resignation of Tagarda as provincial jail warden, saying the capitol official lost his moral ascendancy as a provincial government official and as the head of Misamis Oriental’s jailers.

“Warden siya, nagbantay sa mga priso nga nagtulak sa illegal drugs unya wala siya makabadlong sa iyang anak?” Villanueva asked rhetorically.

He accused Tagarda of sending his two sons Gregor and Bon Clinton to Gingoog City to hide.

“Gitago-an niya didto sa Gingoog. Wala niya i-surender sa amo. So, nahimo siyang protector,” Villanueva said. “Mag-resign naka kay kon mauna ang akong kaso nga i-file batok nimo isip protector, dili kana maka-retire.”

BUSTED. Narcotics agents accompany Bon Clinton Tagarda after they arrested him along with his brother Gregor on Gumamela Street in Barangay Carmen here this morning. Tagarda’s father is Misamis Oriental provincial jail warden Dominador Tagarda. (Photo by Nitz Arancon)

He said PDEA agents had planned to arrest the Tagarda siblings but the jail warden allegedly made them seek refuge in Gingoog. He said the brothers returned when they thought everything was already “normal” and that authorities were no longer after them.

Tagarda, for his part, said he would not resign as jail warden of the capitol-run prison facility because he is set to retire this Dec. 31.

“Hulaton na lang nato ang akong retirement,” said Tagarda even as he strongly denied that he served as his sons’ protectors.

“Wala nako sila gi-tolerate. Gani, ako na kana sila nga gi-report sa barangay,” Tagarda said. “Ang problema wala aksyoni sa barangay.”

But Tagarda said he would leave his fate in the hands of Misamis Oriental Gov. Yevgeny Vincente Emano.

Villanueva said the suspects were living in the jail warden’s house and it was unlikely that he was unaware of what his sons were doing.

“To the father of these two arrested personalities, I emphatize with you and I know how you feel being in anti-drug enforcement for more than 18 years but please, tama na ang drama,” Villanueva said.

He said neighbors of the Tagarda family have complained and were aware of the siblings’ alleged involvement in the drug trade. He said barangay officials also placed the brothers in their watch list.

“Ano ba ang aksyon mo?” Villanueva asked.

Tagarda said, “Ako naman unta kini sila ipa-rehabilitate og ako na gani kini sila nga gipadala sa Barangay Carmen apan wala pa nila tumana. Wala ako magkulang og pahimangno sa akong mga anak.”

Meanwhile, capitol spokesman Florito “Carlo” Dugaduga said Villanueva should substantiate his allegations against Tagarda, and charge the jail warden if PDEA thinks it has a solid case.

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