Judge in Duterte ‘narco lists’ denies protecting drug lords

By Christopher Lloyd T. Caliwan

MANILA  (PNA) – Judge Exequil Dagala, one of the four active duty judges implicated by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte as drug lords protectors, vehemently denied the allegation and said he has served with integrity the Dapa-Socorro, Surigao Del Norte Municipal Circuit for the past 10 years.

He added that his income was not enough to sustain his family, adding that he had already submitted himself to a lifestyle check instigated by the Supreme Court (SC) along with the three other judges.

And while admitting to owning a “small island” off Del Carmen town, Siargao, Dagala said he bought the property years back and for only Php 40,000.

The island, known as “Isla Verde”, was inspected by local police earlier this week even without court warrant on suspicion that it was hiding a narcotics laboratory.

After being publicly named by Duterte last Aug. 7, Dagala reported to the SC last week. He was told to submit a written statement to answer the allegation.

Instead, the judge then left and instead sent his irrevocable resignation letter to the office of Court Administrator after 30 minutes.

“I resigned because I dont want to taint the judiciary which I have served with integrity for 10 years already,” he explained.

Dagala added that his resignation was meant to dispel suspicion of partiality in the investigation regarding his alleged involvement in the drug trade.

The SC has already rejected his resignation, citing pending administrative investigation against him involving another case prior to his being dragged into the narcotics controversy.

He added he would cooperate with the SC probe and is confident that he would “eventually clear my name.”

Aside from Dagala, the three other active judges facing SC probe are Adriano Savillo of Iloilo City regional trial court, Domingo Casiple of Kalibo, Aklan RTC and Antonio Reyes of Baguio City, Benguet RTC.

Dagala, Casiple and Savillo are not handling drug cases in their respective salas. Only Reyes presides over the designated drugs court in his multi-sala court.

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