Duterte not will­ing to name ‘narco-pols’ in 2019 polls

Manila Times - - News - CATHER­INE S. VALENTE

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.

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