Escudero dares PDEA: Release ‘narco-list’ to the public
Senator Francis Escudero has dared the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) to release the so-called narco-list, or the list of government officials allegedly involved in illegal drugs.
Escudero said this on Monday, as Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año renewed calls for the government to disclose the list to help voters decide on which candidate should not get their support in the 2019 elections.
“Ang tagal ko nang naririnig iyang narco-list na iyan, unang linggo pa lamang ng administrasyon ni Pangulong Duterte, pero hanggang ngayon hindi ko pa nakikita ‘yung anino ng narco-list na iyan,” Escudero said in a press briefing.
(I have long heard of that so-called narco-list, ever since the first week of President Duterte’s administration, but until now, I have not seen even the shadow of that narco-list.)
Escudero said the list should be publicized if the PDEA and DILG are confident on their evidence linking the government officials to the illicit drug trade.
“Kung tiwala sila na may basehan ‘yung listahang iyon, bakit hindi nila ilabas (If they are confident that that list has basis, why don’t they release it)?” he said, noting that “he who alleges must prove the same.”
According to Escudero, releasing the list would also be an opportunity for politicians to clear their name. He said government officials also have the right under the law to file cases against the PDEA and DILG if their names were included in the list without sufficient basis.
He further challenged the PDEA and DILG to name government officials supposedly blocking the release of the narco-list.
But Año said the DILG only helps in verifying the narco-list and that the PDEA can only release the list once the President gives the green light.
The DILG earlier recommended the disqualification of politicians purportedly involved in illegal drugs. The Commission on Elections, however, said involvement in any list does not equate with disqualification of candidates from elections. /kga
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