TACLOBAN CITY- The naming of their mayor by President Rodrigo Duterte as being involved in the illegal drug activity was “absolutely shocking.”
Thus said a close aide of Mayor Hector Ong of Laoang, Northern Samar who was named, together with his wife, Madeleine, by the President to be protector of those in the illegal drugs activity.
The aide, who is a lawyer by profession, said that not once their mayor and his wife, who also served as mayor of the town, were involved in illegal activity, much more on illegal drugs.
The aide declined to be identified saying she has no authority to speak for Mayor Ong and his wife.
“Laoang is a very small town. Everybody knows everybody. No secret could be hidden. They never engaged in any illegal activity to include in the illegal drug,” she said in a phone interview.
According to her, the couple is considered as the richest in Laoang, a coastal town inhabited by 61,359 people based on the 2015 population census.
She said that they maintain a gasoline station, commercial buildings for rent, copra- buying and a big hardware in Manila.
One of their sons is into business while another son is a doctor based in Manila.
“That is why it is really unbelievable that they would be engaging in the illegal drug activity. They are very rich already,” the aide aid.
She admitted that just like in any area in the country, Laoang is facing problem on the illegal drug.
“But it does not follow that because the problem is not completely solved under their respective administrations, they will be tag in the illegal drug trade. That is unfair,” she said.
It was learned that Mayor Ong and his wife left for Manila just hours after they learned that they were among those named by Mr. Duterte Sunday(August 7).
The source could not ascertain whether the two would go to Malacañang to meet the President or to Police Director General Ronald de la Rosa to clear their names.
The Ong couple has ruled Laoang since 1986 after Madeleine was named as its officer-in-charge after the 1996 EDSA People Power I.
Madeleine, who is not holding any elective post this time, also served as governor of Northern Samar from 1998 to 2001.
During the May 9 elections, Hector replaced his wife as mayor of Laoang.
The Ong family is considered to be the most politically powerful in Northern Samar, one of the poorest provinces in the country.
Mayor Hector Ong’s brother, Jose, is the current governor, while a nephew, Edwin, just won as a congressman, replacing his father, Emil.
Emil Ong served as the administrator of the National Food Authority during the administration of former President Corazon Aquino. (JOEY A. GABIETA)