Up to Duterte to bare narco list

The Mindanao Examiner Regional Newspaper - - First Page - (Christopher Lloyd Caliwan)

THE DEPARTMENT OF the Interior and Local Government (DILG) said it is up to President Rodrigo Duterte to make public the names of politicians he accused as involved in the illegal drug trade. Duterte has previously said that he has a socalled narco list of local government officials, but would not divulge them in public. The DILG has insisted the Commission on Elections to disqualify officials in Duterte’s drug list, although no criminal charges have been filed against them in court. “Well, we need to get clearance from the President to make that happen and we have not yet received that. In the last barangay elections, we got clearance that’s why we were able to release the names,” DILG Assistant Secretary Jonathan Malaya said. Malaya said they are now building up cases against those politicians in the drug list. “The challenge now for us is to be able to file

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cases against them and to ensure that they do not stay in power. So again, it’s a continuous case build-up on the part of the PNP because of the unrelenting approach to the drug war.” “Many of the officials have actually taken a more I should say non-active stance insofar as drugs are concerned because I think the government’s anti-drug war has taken a toll also on the operations of many of the syndicates in the country so it’s now more difficult to determine if a certain individual which used to be in the narco list continuous to be in the narco list. It’s an evolving process. Many of them have taken a backseat now as compared before,” Malaya said. He also noted that there has been a decrease in the number of local officials on the list based on data from the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency but they have yet to validate it. “Nung nakausap ko ang PDEA ang sabi nila yung iba natakot na yung iba because of pressure from many sources,” Malaya said, adding, the DILG stands firm in its decision to have narco-politicians disqualified from running in next year’s mid-term elections. “We are in continuous talks with them to make sure the Filipino people get the complete information insofar as these individuals are concerned. We cannot make the Comelec disqualify them obviously but we are doing this in the fulfilment of our mandate. We are the DILG, we would like to cleanse the department of individuals that are involved in the drug trade,” he said. While acknowledging that narco-politicians cannot be disqualified unless they have been convicted with finality, Malaya is hopeful that the poll body will find a way to disqualify them. DILG Oic-secretary Eduardo Año said since 2016, there have been 300 local officials facing administrative cases that might be suspended and dismissed. A total of 93 local officials are included on the narco-list, while 250 others have pending cases investigated by the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, Año said.

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