Bare list of barangay execs tagged in drug trade now, solon tells PDEA
A lawmaker called on the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) on Tuesday to now fulfill its promise of publicly disclosing its list of barangay officials tagged in illegal drugs trade.
Iligan City Rep. Frederick Siao, a member of the House committee on suffrage and electoral reforms, sought the release of the 289 names of barangay officials submitted to PDEA in time for the upcoming barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections on May 14.
“Nasaan na ang listahan ng mga umano’y 289 na barangay officials na sangkot sa illegal drugs? Was that just a ploy, a slip of the tongue, a misquote, or a PR stunt? If the PDEA does have such a list, then now is the time to fully disclose that list,” Siao said in a statement.
“Now is not the time for PDEA to lose credibility over this matter. What is PDEA waiting for? Reveal the list as it is now and the reasons those barangay officials are on that list.”
“Inform the public and give the officials allegedly involved the fair chance to respond to the allegations,” he added.
In a press conference in Tacloban City last April 18, PDEA Chief Aaron Aquino vowed to publish the names of the village officials purportedly involved in the illegal drug trade.
“We have to publish their names so that if they are candidates now for the upcoming SK and barangay elections, hindi sila iboto (they should not be elected), because actually they are there to help the government campaign in the anti-illegal drugs pero wala eh, they are into illegal drugs by way of trading, using and protectors, so what shall we do – the people and the constituents should know they are not worthy to be voted anymore,” Aquino declared.
In March, Aquino revealed that 24,424 villages in the country remain “plagued by the drug menace.” The figure accounts for the majority of the villages across the country at 58.10 percent.
But the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) has also cautioned PDEA against its plan to publicly name barangay officials allegedly involved in the narcotics trade, saying it should instead let due process take its course.
“The Commission agrees that there is a need to cleanse the local government from those who exacerbate the drug problem. We, however, urge the PDEA to be more discerning in releasing any information pertaining to the drug list,” the CHR said in a statement last April 21.
“Rule of law dictates that filing a case in the court is the proper way to apprehend and exact accountability from erring public officials,” it added.
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