The list of politicians allegedly involved in the illegal drug trade is set to be made public next week to enable voters to make a “wise choice” in May’s mid-term elections.
“We hope to release it next week. We are vetting it right now. We are making sure of the list,” Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) spokesperson, Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya, said in a phone interview Wednesday.
While several senators have opposed the disclosure of the names on the list, Malaya said the public has the right to be informed regarding this matter.
“To us, since the election is coming and we want to eradicate drugs, the people should be aware of the protectors, the coddlers of drug syndicates. We have a different opinion with the senators,” he added.
Malaya said through this move, senators will know who are on the list because they do not have access to intelligence information from the Philippine National Police, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), and the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
“We want the people to be informed so they can decide what they want. We’re giving the necessary information to the public so they can make an informed choice, so they can make a wise choice,” he said.
Asked who will make the list public, Malaya said, “We’re still discussing which agency will (make the announcement). Let’s see next week, we’ll know next week.”
Interior Secretary Eduardo Año, when asked if the list will indeed be released next week, said, “(the) validation by PDEA and ICAD (Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs) is still ongoing. We’ll submit it to PRRD (President Rodrigo R. Duterte) for his final guidance.”
On Tuesday, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the DILG will file administrative and criminal charges against politicians on the “narco-list”.
Panelo made this assurance following concerns that releasing a list of politicians allegedly involved in the illegal drug trade violates their right to due process.
He said Año has bared that his department will release the “narco-list” next week while charges may be filed simultaneously.
The Palace spokesperson added that the filing of administrative and criminal charges may include suspension of the involved “narco-politicians”.
According to PDEA, 64 out of 82 politicians on the “narco-list” are seeking re-election in this year‘s mid-term polls.
PDEA Director General Aaron Aquino, however, noted that the number may increase after the validation process as there are more politicians in the national drug information system.
While his personal stand is not to publicize the contents of the list, the PDEA chief said he will comply if the President orders him to publicize it. (PNA)