Duterte not willing to name ‘narco-pols’ in 2019 polls
PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte said he was not keen on revealing the names of politicians involved in the illegal drug trade in the country, as the filing of certificates of candidacy (CoCs) for local and national posts in the 2019 midterm polls started.
“No, I will not,” Duterte said in a media interview in Davao City early Friday morning, when asked if he would make public the identities of so-called narco-politicians running in the 2019 elections.
“It’s not a good policy to let know the — to telegraph your intention or what you know about the otter fellow, especially in matters of breaking penal laws. No, I will not. We will not in government,” he added.
Duterte made the statement after Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) sought the Commission on Elections’ (Comelec) help to disqualify politicians who are allegedly involved in corruption and illegal drugs from the midterm polls.
During the Palace press briefing on Friday, Interior Assistant Secretary Jonathan Malaya said that the DILG would release its list of suspected narco-politicians after the filing of CoCs next week.
The Comelec scheduled the filing of CoCs from Oct. 11 to 12 and Oct.15-17, 2018.
“We are going to forward to Commission on Elections all of those lists for their proper disposition. It’s up to the Comelec how they will handle that concern,” Malaya said.
He said the DILG is hope that they will be disqualified.
“[Acting Interior Secretary Eduardo] Año mentioned that we would want them to be disqualified, but there are legal impediments as mentioned by some election lawyers,” he added.
In July, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) said the number of politicians linked to illegal drugs rose to 93 in April from 86 in December 2017.
PDEA released the names of 207 village officials included in the drug list in April, in time for the May 14 village and youth council elections.
On October 3, Año recommended the disqualification of candidates for the 2019 elections who are connected to the narcotics trade.
Comelec spokesman James Jimenez, however, said it was “too premature” at the moment to bar candidates linked to illegal drugs from joining the 2019 polls.
“There are grounds for disqualification, and membership in any list is not a ground for disqualification, unless you are convicted by final judgment,” Jimenez said.