After Duterte apology, Lacson calls for review of all narco lists
Senator Panfilo Lacson now wants an immediate review of all “narco” lists after President Rodrigo Duterte issued an apology to three persons that he had earlier named as alleged drug protectors.
“It goes without saying that the credibility of that list and all other narco lists involving other sectors for that matter have now become doubtful,” Lacson said in a statement on Wednesday.
“An immediate review of all the narco lists is in order. As I said, the President or any official making a classified document public is ill-advised and will not serve the purpose for which it was prepared,” he said.
Lacson said an intelligence report must be treated as “Confidential” even as a “Secret” or “Top Secret” document, depending on its security classification.
A narco list, just like an Order of Battle, he said, was a product of an intelligence workshop and should be disseminated only to personnel with the corresponding security clearance.
“Hence, making it public would not only warn those in the list — thus jeopardizing any ongoing intelligence operations — but also unnecessarily shame them or put their lives at risk,” said Lacson, who headed the Philippine National Police during the time of then President Joseph Estrada.
“Having said that, it may also be unfair to those who may not be correctly tagged as committing the wrongdoings as described in the intelligence document,” he said.
Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan also urged Malacañang to seriously reconsider its policy of releasing such lists.
“It is violative of the right to due process when citizens are shamed in such a manner, their lives endangered and it subsequently turns out that they are in fact innocent. This is why we have judicial processes as the means to determine the guilt or innocence of an accused,” Pangilinan said in a text message to reporters.
Senator Risa Hontiveros said the government, particularly the law enforcement agencies, must exercise judiciousness in validating their “list of drug personalities.”
“This must be supported and vetted by strong evidence and legitimate intelligence,” Hontiveros said in separate text message.
The government, she said, could not just ruin the reputations of people and judge them at will.
“The responsibility of prosecution and judgment falls upon our judicial system. Sadly, the list, while it may be motivated by good intentions, preempts the court’s judgment, and as proven by this incident, unnecessarily shamed and stigmatized people who have no part in the drug trade,” Hontiveros added. JE
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