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Duterte says he deliberately read old list of 'narco officials'

Philstar.com
MANILA, Philippines -- Criticized for releasing a supposedly error-filled list of officials with alleged links to illegal drugs, President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday that he deliberately read an old list to expose people involved in narcotics trade, whether dead or alive.
 
Critics claimed that the list of officials read by Duterte last Sunday was filled with wrong or old information.
 
For instance, Judge Roberto Navidad, one of the seven judges tagged in narcotics, was killed in Jan. 14, 2008. The list also contained a “congressman party list Jeffrey Celis” but the name is not part of the official roster of the House of Representatives.
 
Duterte, however, was unfazed by the criticisms, saying he revealed the names as part of his duty.
 
“It really was my intention to read everyone involved in the drug problem, even the deceased,” the president told soldiers in Zamboanga del Sur.

Palace defends list

The Palace was quick to defend Duterte from the criticisms, saying that president’s primary concern is “to deliver effective action to the people.”
 
“By calling out the names of the judges on the list, he is giving them every chance and opportunity to be prepared to defend themselves, clear their names if they are innocent, and alert the community of their involvement in drugs if they are guilty,” Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said.  
 
Andanar admitted, though, that not everyone would be pleased by Duterte’s action.
 
“But the president is putting his life, his honor, and the presidency at stake. His love for the people is greater than his fear for his own life, or the fear of embarrassment, failure or mistakes,” he said.  
 
A total of 158 former and incumbent local executives, members of the judiciary and uniformed personnel were included in the list of the so-called narco officials.
 
Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo insisted that there were no errors in the list that Duterte read.
 
“According to them (critics), there must be something wrong with the announcement because how can they be involved? I'm sorry, the intelligence reports say they are involved. The fact of death or retirement or resignation or dismissal of a particular judge cannot erase the fact that those people are involved by the time they were in office,” Panelo told reporters in Malacanang.
 
“The president never said that they are alive. He just announced the names that according to intelligence reports were involved one time or another. So there is no error,” he added.
 
Panelo said while the list is based on raw intelligence reports, such information become “evidence of probative value” when presented in court.
 
“We heard the president and according to him it has been validated and revalidated and in fact other names have not been announced because he has been asking for a revalidation,” the president’s lawyer said.

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