Narco-list needs validation –– Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency chief

Aaron N. Aquino

PHILIPPINE Drug Enforcement Agency Chair Director General Aaron N. Aquino yesterday batted anew for the revalidation of the so-called narco-list before it is released by the government.

Earlier presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said that the Department of the Interior and Local Government might publicize the list next week.  Panelo said that Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año  had already gotten the go-signal from President Duterte to release the list.

Aquino explained that the list can’t be released this week since it is still being validated. “I cannot do it right now because we haven’t finished our revalidation of all the narco-politicians,” he said.

During a press conference at the PDEA national headquarters in Quezon City, Aquino said he had a brief meeting with top officials of the DILG  and the Dangerous Drugs Board last Monday to discuss the issue.

“As of now, there is an instruction for PDEA to disclose list, I can’t do it right now because we haven’t finished the re-validation of the narco-politicians. Kung next week, I just hope we can finish the re-validation of this list,” he said.

The official said that there are 82 politicians in the narco-list including 82 politicians, 67 of them reelectonists.

Aquino maintained that he is not in favor of disclosing the list unless criminal charges have been officially filed against them in court.

“Yun naman ang statement ko mula pa noong umpisa, hindi pa nagkakaroon ng filing of COC, yan sana stand ko,” he said.

Aquino however made it very clear that he would follow President Duterte’s order to disclose the list of politicians allegedly involved in illegal drugs.

The list was trimmed down from 83 to 82 in the aftermath of the arrest last month of Mayor Norodin Franco Salazar as a result of a raid on his house last February which resulted in the confiscation of illegal firearms and ammunition.

“If it will be ordered by the President na this list will be revealed, I should abide by that. I think hindi binigay sa PDEA ‘yung authority to disclose the list but instead that’s with the SILG,” he said.