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Two senators urge DILG to file cases vs politicians in narco list

/ 05:25 PM March 04, 2019

MANILA, Philippines — Two senators urged the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) to file cases against politicians who are allegedly involved in the illegal drugs trade instead of just revealing their names in public.

“Ang pinakamatibay na solusyon ng pamahalaan laban sa iligal na droga ay mag-file ng kaso laban sa mga kasali sa narco list nito (The best solution the government can do to counter illegal drugs is to file cases against the politicians in the narco list),” Senator Nancy Binay said in a statement on Monday.

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“Pero kung wala pong matibay na ebidensya at papangalanan lang ang mga kasama sa listahan ay isa lamang itong propaganda (But if there is no strong evidence against them and they will just name those who are included in the list, then it is just propaganda),” she added.

Binay also noted that those who are included in the so-called narco list should be presumed innocent until proven guilty.

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“Alam din po natin na sa isang demokrasya ang lahat ng akusado ay presumed innocent until proven guilty, at kailangang dumaan sa due process (We also know that in a democracy, the accused are presumed innocent until proven guilty, and it should undergo due process.),” she said.

“Alam po nating isang bentahe ng kandidato ang integridad niya, pero kung mapapasama sa narcolist ay isang kasiraan sa kanyang pangalan. Sana’y hindi magamit ang listahan upang siraan, lalo na yung mga nasa oposisyon at independent candidates,” she added.

(We know that a candidate’s integrity is an advantage. Inclusion in the narco list can tarnish his or her name. We hope the list will not be used to destroy a person’s reputation, especially the opposition and independent candidates.)

Senator Franklin Drilon shared Binay’s sentiment and added that the release of the narco list may result in complaints of abuse of power and libel.

“The [DILG] exposes itself to an administrative complaint for abuse of authority, libel, and damages for the release of such list,” Drilon said in a separate statement.

“The DILG should file cases against these candidates allegedly involved in the drug trade,” he added.

The statements of the two senators came after Interior Secretary Eduardo Año proposed that the narco list be released in time for the midterm polls in May 2019.

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READ: Narco-politicians to be identified within election period – DILG chief

READ: Narco list to be verified prior to release, DILG chief assures

President Rodrigo Duterte and Philippine National Police (PNP) chief General Oscar Albayalde backed Año’s proposal. But Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) chief Director General Aaron Aquino is not in favor of the release of the list before the elections.

READ: Duterte favors releasing list of narco-pols ahead of May polls

READ: PNP chief backs release of ‘narco list’

READ: PDEA chief says no to release of ‘narco list’ before May polls

Binay, likewise, reminded the DILG and other concerned agencies to validate and vet the said list carefully.

“Kailangan pong maging maingat sa validation at vetting process ng paggawa nitong listahan. Sure po ba tayong fool proof ang validation at vetting process sa paggawa nung listahan? A-1 po ba ang intelligence regarding the involvement of these politicians, at hindi lamang dahil sa tsismis o sabi-sabi?” she said.

(We need to be careful about the validation and the vetting process for this list. Are we sure that our validation and vetting process is foolproof? Do we have A-1 intelligence regarding the involvement of these politicians in illegal drugs, and not just based on hearsay?)

“Kasi kung hindi pa 100% sure ang involvement ay magiging kakatawanan lang ang laban na ito (Because if they are not 100 percent sure, the list and this will only be a laughing stock),” she added. /ee

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