DILG to recommend release of ‘Narco List’
SAYING the government is “very serious” in its policy of “good governance,” Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo M. Año, is recommending the release of the so-called “Narco List” that include the names of 96 candidates vying for election to various posts in next year’s midterm polls.
In a talk with the media yesterday after the approval of the DILG’s requested P224 billion budget for 2019 by the Senate Finance Committee, Año said he would seek a meeting with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and President Rodrigo Duterte to recommend the release of the list to the public.
“We are very serious (about) good governance; if we are to vote, we should make sure those we are voting for are not linked to the illegal drug trade,” he added.
“It’s up to the PDEA (to release the list) but for me, I am really recommending for its release.”
He noted that only the PDEA is empowered under the law to have the list released, but this would first need the go-signal from the Chief Executive.
Año said among those seeking to be elected despite involvement in the illegal drug trade are candidates for Congress.
“For the local government officials, including some congressmen, the total number is 96 (candidates),” Año said, adding there are 1,715 local officials at present whose positions are up for grabs in next year’s polls.
Año is strongly pushing for the release of the list, saying the DILG was informed by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) that under the Omnibus Election Code, only candidates with final conviction from the courts are barred from running in the polls.
On the other hand, he also pointed out that filing court cases against drug suspects “is difficult” and court cases can drag on for years. “In the meantime, the election is now approaching.”
Año added those on the list are involved “in various capacities” in the multi-billion peso illegal drug business, as coddlers, protectors, users and drug traffickers.
He also expressed the belief that various government agencies affirming a candidate’s involvement in the illegal drug trade should be enough information to guide voters.
The bemedaled and highly-respected former chief of the Armed Forces also expressed confidence in the accuracy of those on the list, noting that it is being “updated” on a quarterly basis by various government agencies comprising the Inter-Agency Committee on Illegal Drugs (ICAD) formed by Malacañang for a holistic and unified approach in the fight against illegal drugs, which has been labeled a “national security threat” by President Duterte.