Gov’t verifying link of ‘around 20’ more politicians to drug trade — Año
MANILA, Philippines — Almost two weeks after the names of 46 politicians allegedly involved in illegal drugs were exposed by President Rodrigo Duterte on national television, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said Monday that authorities are validating the involvement of “around 20” more politicians in the illegal drug trade.
Año said the 46 names divulged by Duterte on March 14 are only those included in the initial list of so-called narco-politicians.
“Meron pang undergoing validation. In fact, around 20 [politicians] are being validated now (There’s still an undergoing validation. In fact, around 20 politicians are being validated now),” he told reporters in a chance interview.
The DILG chief revealed that the next politicians in the so-called “narcolist” are mostly mayors and also includes a vice governor.
Año also said that the 20 politicians are just among the longer list of personalities included in the drugs watchlist, which also has the names of judges, prosecutors, celebrities, and media practitioners, as earlier mentioned by Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Director General Aaron Aquino. This list, however, is still subject to an ongoing validation.
According to Año, the names of additional politicians in the narcolist may not be released before the May 13 elections, citing the length of time that the validation process will take.
He said that for the 46 politicians alone, concerned government authorities had spent 14 months for the list’s verification.
“So we’ll see baka (maybe) after the elections na i-re-release ang pangalan (we’d release the names),” Año said.
Department of the Interior and Local Government has already filed administrative charges against the 46 politicians in the narcolist, which names have already been made public, before the Office of the Ombudsman.
These administrative cases include grave misconduct, conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service, conduct unbecoming of a public officer, and gross neglect of duty.
No criminal case has been filed so far against any one of the 46 politicians even if illegal drug trade is a criminal offense. /kga
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