THE poll victories of local officials, whose names appear in President Rodrigo Duterte’s narco-list, should not spare them from prosecution.
Surigao del Norte Rep. Robert Ace Barbers urged the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) to file charges against candidates involved in illegal drug operations despite their victory in the recently-concluded elections, especially if evidence is very strong and convincing.
Barbers’ view is supported by other members of the House who emphasized that no one is above the law.
“Government should file charges already especially if the evidence at hand is overwhelming. If proven guilty, then the national government should not think twice in booting them out of office,” Barbers, the chairman of the House Committee on Dangerous Drugs, said.
It was observed that the stigma of being on the list of narco-politicos failed to stop the poll victory of a majority of the politicians.
They include Zambales Rep. Jeffrey Khonghun and his son, Subic Mayor Jefferson Khonghun.
Poll results showed that Rep. Khonghun won against former Rep. Mitos Magsaysay. On the other hand, Mayor Jefferson was re-elected, winning against Liberal Party candidate Ramon Lacbain.
Bagong Henerasyon Rep. Bernadette Herrera-Dy said winning politicians on the narco-list should be stopped from “retaining their position and from using their position of power” if they are indeed involved in illegal drug trade.
Other solons like Negros Occidental Rep. Alfredo Benitez, Davao Oriental Rep. Mayo Almario and Muntinlupa City Rep. Ruffy Biazon said if there is sufficient evidence cases should be filed immediately.
“Charges were expected as soon as the list was announced before the elections. That would have been the best time to prosecute the alleged narco politicians,” Biazon stressed.
Quezon City Rep. Winnie Castelo said the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency and the Philippine National Police are “under obligation” to file criminal complaints.
“The DILG also must level charges against these people and file administrative cases as basis for suspension if evidence warrants,” Castelo, chairman of the House Committee on Metro Manila Development, added.
In Region III, expected winners whose names were included in the Duterte narco-list are Mayor Ferdinand Aguinaldo of Pasuquin, Ilocos Norte; Mayor Erlon Agustin of Camiling, Tarlac and Mayor Cirpriano Violago Jr. of San Rafael, Bulacan.