VOTER’S GUIDE | Duterte yet to decide on release of list of narco politicos

5 months ago

OCTOBER 17, 2018 – Malacañang on Wednesday said President Rodrigo Duterte has yet to decide on whether to release the list of politicians who are allegedly involved in the illegal drug trade.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the list will help voters in choosing their candidates in the 2019 midterm elections.

“The President has yet to categorically announce if he will approve the release of this list amid the forthcoming elections,” Panelo said.

“The President, pursuant to its mandate to serve and protect the people, is taking into consideration all rights and interests involved in order to ensure that the 2019 elections is not only credible and peaceful but also one that is truly reflective of the people’s desires and aspirations,” he added.

The Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) earlier announced their plan to release a list of “narco-politicians” before the elections so that voters will have an idea on the background of candidates in their areas.

Panelo maintained that the narco-lists prepared by law enforcement agencies, including the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), are based on intelligence reports that have undergone a series of comprehensive assessments.

“The public can thus be assured that these lists are credible and not propaganda tools to taint the characters of candidates,” Panelo said.

Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto, meanwhile, opposed the plan of the DDB, saying the list may be polluted since it is not validated.

“Ganun ‘yung mentality ng Dangerous Drugs Board. I cannot blame them for that, I used to be there, and I know the feeling,” Sotto said.

“There is the other perspective na baka gagamitin yung paninira sa kapwa, by saying na ganito ‘yan, involved ‘yan, ito nasa listahan. What if the list is not validated? That’s the problem,” he added.

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian echoed Sotto’s observation and suggested that the DDB file criminal and administrative cases instead against suspected narco-politicians.

“If there is solid evidence to pin down these narco-politicians, then the DDB should by all means file cases against them. Narcopols are unfit for public office and should be thrown in jail,” Gatchalian said in a statement.

Gatchalian also stressed that releasing the list may not be a “wise move”, citing unreliable intel on these lists.

“Releasing an unverified narco-list which is unsupported by evidence will unfairly prejudice the named personalities. It may even put their lives in danger,” Gatchalian said.