Duterte 1st president to expose narco-pol list

November 22, 2019

A VETERAN lawyer-congressman on Friday said the war on drugs of President Rodrigo Duterte is more successful than that of his predecessors.

Cavite Rep. Elpidio “Pidi” Barzaga, Jr., president of the National Unity Party (NUP), pointed out that the performance of President Duterte in solving the drug problem in the country has been more fruitful and positive compared with the records of previous presidents.

“President Duterte is the first Chief Executive to expose a list of narco-politicians ranging from congressmen to mayors; and even naming some members of the judiciary, as well as the so-called ninja generals and cops. It is a bold and brave move of the President to make such public declaration considering that drug problem is a complicated social problem involving powerful syndicates,” said Barzaga, vice chairman of the House committee on dangerous drugs.

During the third quarter of 2019, Barzaga, who chairs the House committee on natural resources, recalled that the President maintained his “very good” satisfaction rating as revealed by the most recent survey of the Social Weather Stations (SWS).

Based on this survey, Barzaga said 78 percent were satisfied, while 13% told SWS that they were dissatisfied, and 9% were undecided.

“This rating is exceptional considering that performance ratings of former presidents typically decline after the first half of their term. The good rating of the President largely reflects the accomplishment of his war on drugs which is the centerpiece of his administration. According to a poll fielded from June 22 to 26 by the SWS, 82% of adult Filipinos remain satisfied with the administration’s campaign against illegal drugs. Billions worth of illegal drugs have been confiscated by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) since Duterte took presidency,” Barzaga said.

Indeed, President Duterte has started a radical leadership that targets even the hardest and seemingly unending problem of illegal drugs,” said Barzaga.

Barzaga likened the performance of the President to a litmus test to which all public elected officials are subjected.

“It is not what the critics nor the allies would say but what the public would consider on the war on drugs. Therefore, with the acceptability of the general public being an indicative barometer, President Duterte has passed with flying colors his war on drugs,” Barzaga added.

Surigao del Norte Rep. Robert Ace Barbers, who chairs the House committee on dangerous drugs, has called on Vice President Leni Robredo to exercise prudence in her job as co-chairperson of the Interagency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD) by respecting the processes in place that aim to protect the confidentiality of the government’s list of high-value targets (HVTs) in the anti-drug war.

Barbers said that while Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Director General Aaron Aquino has already expressed willingness in providing Robredo the HVT list, he believes that this is unnecessary given the confidential nature of this highly sensitive information which could fall into the wrong hands.

“While we all share the goal of  eradicating narcotics and its sources here in the country, we should exercise due diligence and  keep in mind that our  national security should always be our paramount concern,” said  Barbers.

“There is no need for VP Leni to have a copy of the list of High Value  Targets (HVT) as it is classified information and must only be accessible to personalities with security clearance,” he added. “There is already a process in place to protect the confidential nature of such highly sensitive information that we as government officials should respect.”