No automatic disqualification for bets on drug list —Comelec
Having a candidate’s name included in the drug watchlist of the government would not automatically disqualify or bar him from running in an election, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) clarified on Friday.
Comelec spokesman James Jimenez explained that only a final judgment on the alleged crime—a court conviction—would disqualify a candidate’s bid for public office, apart from other factors of disqualification.
“Having your name on the list of drug suspects or people suspected to be involved in the drug trade will not really have an effect on what the Comelec does,” Jimenez said in a press briefing.
“Being on [a] drug list will not disqualify a person from running for office. Disqualification only comes from a final judgment against the person, apart from other reasons for disqualification,” the polling body official said.
Jimenez also explained that only law enforcement agencies can investigate and charge alleged drug suspects before the courts.
“We’re Comelec. We’re not a law enforcement agency. If you’re on the drug list, there’s nothing really that the Comelec can do,” the spokesman said.
“Alangan naman na kami ang magkaso sa kanila [I don’t think we are the one that will file the case against them] for being involved in drugs. I think that’s pretty covered by a lot of other agencies,” he said.
The drug list, which would be released by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), is just more of a tool for voters’ education rather than as a tool for weeding out candidates, Jimenez pointed out.
“Basically, ang kwento dito, kung alam mo na nga na may problema yung tao, baka naman pwede ka naman magdalawang-isip [the story here is that when you already know the problems about that person, maybe you can think twice] about the support you’re planning to give,” Jimenez said.
“That has always been the orientation of the Comelec with regard to this matter. Again, just to emphasize, being on the list is not disqualifying, much as a lot of people would do otherwise, hindi talaga ganun [it’s not like that],” he said. /jpv
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