JV: Ex-solons, Mindanao execs on Duterte's new 'narco-list'
AJ Bolando (Philstar.com) - August 17, 2016 - 11:53am

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte is expected to name more politicians allegedly involved in drug trade, including former House representatives, Sen. JV Ejercito said on Tuesday.

Ejercito said he was shocked when Duterte revealed to them the names since he knew some of the former congressman whom he described as “fresh” from the office.

“Nakakasiguro ako former congressmen, kakatapos lang ng termino mga fresh pa ito,” Ejercito said in an telephone interview with GMA News TV’s "News To Go."

READ: 5 'narco generals' named

“Medyo nagulat din ako. I have to be honest with you, kasi nakilala ko din ang mga ‘yun. Medyo na-shock din ako kasi nakasama ko ‘yung mga ‘yun,” he added.

The senator said that most names on the new list are from Mindanao and Metro Manila that include mayors and councilors. No one from the Senate was named.

Ejercito heard about the list when he had a meeting on Monday night with Duterte, some senators and Cabinet members at the State Dining Room of Malacañan.

He admitted, however, that he did not personally see the list, which was enclosed in a folder.

Reform

Ejercito said the president's drive for reform is behind his public naming of politicians suspected to be linked to the drug trade.

The former mayor of San Juan City said Duterte blames government officials who serve as protector of the rampant drug trade for many of society's ills.

“Ito ay lumabas sa aming casual conversation na ang talagang pakay namin ay reform. Passionately tinuturo ni President Duterte na ito daw ang talagang rason,” the senator said.

“Hayaan na natin na siya ang magbanggit. Abangan natin ‘yan. Alam naman natin si President Duterte always acts by surprise,” he added.

READ: 159 ‘narco-officials’ named

The senator said Duterte, meanwhile, has to be transparent on the anti-drug campaign with the Freedom of Information executive order in place.

He also defended Duterte's move to public tag officials, saying he is giving them a chance to clear their names. The senator also said no other administration has taken big steps in battling illegal drugs.

“This is the only time na masasabi natin sa tingin ko ang pamahalaan lumalamang sa war on drugs. Palagay ko sa history, ngayon lang nangyari more than one million ang boluntaryong sumuko sa ating pamahalaan.”

Last week, Duterte revealed the “narco-officials” list which includes 159 incumbent and former local executives and lawmakers, judges and uniformed personnel suspected to be involved in the illegal drug trade.

Barely a week in his new office in July, Duterte named five “narco generals” in his speech at the 69th anniversary celebration of the Philippine Air Force.

READ: Bato shrugs off possible misses in ‘narco list’ but admits lack of evidence

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