Former Bacolod No. 1 Councilor Ricardo “Cano” Tan announced Sunday, May 2, that finally and officially the Philippine National Police has issued a certification clearing him and his family of any links to the illegal drugs trade.
“I was a victim of fake news, intrigue, lies and deception. It destroyed my life. It destroyed my family. It ruined me,” said an emotional Tan, at a press conference at his Campuestohan Highland Resort in Talisay City.
Tan, who made a public appearance for the first time since he and his wife, Nita, survived an ambush in Barangay Alangilan, Bacolod City, on Dec. 14, 2018 presented a statement signed in August last year by PBrig. Gen. Rene Pamuspusan, then PNP 6 regional director.
Pamuspusan stated that based on reports from concerned offices under his jurisdiction the information allegedly linking Tan and his family to the illegal drug trade has not been substantiated.
President Rodrigo Duterte in January 2019 fired Bacolod City police chief Senior Superintendent Francisco Ebreo and four other police officers after citing reports linking Tan to the illegal drug trade.
Tan said his wife and son met with the president to explain his side.
“After that meeting President Dutere himself ordered that all accusations against me should be validated and revalidated. And the different agencies did just that,” he said.
After a lengthy process of validation and revalidation, Tan said the PNP Region 6 cleared him of any “derogatory records”.
He thanked the president and the government agencies concerned for helping him clear his name.
He also thanked God and all those who stood by him and his family throughout their ordeal.
“On December 2018, my world crumbled. But on January 2019, my world was completely shattered. That time, I thought it was already the end of everything,” he said.
He said for more than one year and a half, he lived in fear and constant uncertainty.
“While I was away searching for truth and justice, I cried a river of tears, day and night,” he said, pointing out that he had never been away from his family for such a long period of time.
Tan said before he was ambushed a media personality alleged that there was a drug laboratory beneath the giant King Kong at his resort.
Tan said he invited the media and law enforcers to inspect King Kong to prove that there was no drug laboratory but the media personality continued to claim otherwise.
“It was clear that he was following a script to destroy me,” Tan said.
Shortly after that fake news he and his wife were ambushed and nearly died, Tan added.
The allegations that he is a drug lord have always surfaced nearing election time, he said.
And as if that was not enough, they peddled lies that his Campuestohan Highland Resort had been sold to a wealthy family, and that it was no longer for public use.
“That news is a bunch of garbage. Top of the line ina nga binutig (lie)”, he said.
“When they failed to kill us, they wanted to bankrupt our business by spreading lies and fake news,” he said.
Tan stressed that he and his family still own the resort, it has not been sold and it is open to the public.
“I was a victim of kahisa (jealousy) by some people who do not want to see the poor boy from Dawis nga mag asenso (progress)…I suffered the greatest pain in my life. The pain of being separated from my family and the pain of being wrongfully judged”, he said
“I am not a drug lord and never had been a drug lord…I am innocent of all the accusations hurled against me,” he said.
Tan said everything he and his wife own were obtained through sheer hard work, pointing out that they started off with the restaurant business, began an auto supply dealership, and built Campuestohan Highland Resort.
“This was once a dead place that turned into a No. 1 tourist destination in Western Visayas and the whole country. And I believe that Campuestohan is No. 1 in bringing local tourists not only in Bacolod but also in Negros,” he said.
Tan said he “surrendered his life to God…And yes, He really made a way for me and my family. A way towards peace of mind by giving me justice and truth.”
Tan said he was an honest public servant whose name was never tainted by corruption.
On the question on whether he will return to politics, Tan said “My answer is very simple. Public service is in my blood. I want to serve our people from the platform of good governance…But for now, I don’t have any plans sa politika .”
“I just hope and pray the people trying to destroy me will now stop doing their worst. Let me be your last victim. Enough is enough,” he said, pointing out that it is painful to be wrongfully accused.
Tan said he has forgiven the persons who tried to destroy his life and leaves it up to God to deal with them.
“It is good to be back home,” he said, but his life will never be same again.
Tan said he can no longer be complacent, he will need people to protect him now.
The backdrop during the press conference read: “Finally Justice! I made it though the rain.”*