Duterte mulls release of narco-politicians’ names ahead of 2019 polls
President Rodrigo Duterte is “evaluating” the pros and cons of the proposal of the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) to release the names of the so-called “narco-politicians” ahead of the 2019 midterm elections, Malacañang said Wednesday.
“Given that the DDB is strongly pushing for the release, [Duterte] is making an evaluation of the pros and cons,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a text message to INQUIRER.net.
“Right now, consistent with his arrival statement, he is not inclined to order its release,” he added.
During his speech in Davao City on Friday morning after his arrival from Bali, Indonesia, Duterte said the government “will not” release the names of the politicians allegedly involved in the drug trade.
In a statement, Panelo said, “the President has yet to categorically announce if he will approve the release of this list amid the forthcoming elections.”
“The President, pursuant to its mandate to serve and protect the people, is taking into consideration all rights and interests involved in order to ensure that the 2019 elections is not only credible and peaceful but also one that is truly reflective of the people’s desires and aspirations,” he said.
The release of the narco-list, he added, “should not be perceived as a verdict against those candidates named therein as they are free to seek recourse and object to the findings of our authorities in clearing their reputations.”
“To be sure, the sole purpose of releasing such lists is for voters to be informed of personalities involved in destroying or ravaging our nation through facilitating the proliferation of dangerous drugs in our societies,” Panelo added.
Narco-lists prepared by law enforcement agencies, including the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, “are not products of mere conceptions but are based on intelligence reports which underwent a series of comprehensive assessments.”
“The public can thus be assured that these lists are credible and not propaganda tools to taint the characters of candidates,” he said. /ee
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