President Rodrigo Duterte is seen showing his so-called "narco-list" during one of his speeches.
The STAR/Michael Varcas
Solon, CHR caution PDEA against releasing 'narco-list'
Audrey Morallo ( - April 25, 2018 - 6:50pm

MANILA, Philippines — The government and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency should observe due process and the presumption of innocence amid plans to release a list of politicians supposedly involved in the illegal drugs trade ahead of next month’s village and youth council elections, an opposition congressman and the Commission on Human Rights said.

Rep. Gary Alejano (Magdalo) emphasized that need for “substantial” evidence linking officials to the trade of illegal drugs before making them criminally liable as he noted instances in the past when President Rodrigo Duterte dialed back after releasing names to the public.

“The rule of law and due process must always prevail in these cases,” Alejano said in a statement.

READ: PDEA to release names of 289 ‘narco’ barangay execs

The opposition lawmaker stressed that these presidential blunders would cast doubt on the accuracy of the government’s list of politicians involved in illegal drugs.

He said that the release of the names should go beyond public shaming, adding he hoped that it could lead to accountability among those who would be proven to be involved in narcotics.

Duterte, in many of his speaking engagements, brandished and bragged about his so-called “narco-list” which contained names of politicians and government officials benefitting off the trade of illegal drugs in the country.

However, there have been some mistakes in the past, with no less than former Philippine National Police chief Ronald Dela Rosa admitting the existence of these inaccuracies.

READ: Release barangay narco list? Duterte sleeping on it

PDEA would release a village drug list containing 211 village officials allegedly involved in the trade of illegal drugs ahead of the polls on May 14.

According to PDEA spokesperson Derrick Carreon, the order to release the names came from the president himself amid supposedly public clamor to publicize it.

He also said that the names on the list were verified not just by PDEA but also by members of the government's inter-agency tasked force composed of the Philippine National Police, National Intelligence Coordinating Agency and the Armed Forces of the Philippines intelligence service.

"This not a sham. This is validated. The next step stage is to gather to support these reports and ensure that we can file cases," Carreon said in a phone interview with

He said that the publication of the names as well as those villages which had failed to activate their Barangay Anti-Drug Abuse Councils could be forthcoming in the next few days.

The names to be disclosed by the anti-drugs agency are a part of the much larger 6,000 items long list of the government officials involved in illegal drugs.

READ: Duterte gives narco list to US government

The CHR said that although it understood the reason behind the decision of PDEA, it said that the presumption of innocence and right to due process should not be compromised as these were a guarantee to ensure human rights were protected at all times.

“We, however, urge the PDEA to be more discerning in releasing any information pertaining to the drug list. Rule of law dictates that filing a case in the court is the proper way to apprehend and exact accountability from erring public officials,” the rights commission said in a statement over the weekend.

Making public accusations without due process could subject those involved to undue shame, violate their right to fair trial, erode their dignity and result in suffering of their families, according to the CHR.

It added that such consequences were irreversible if those concerned would be proven innocent.

“If the intention is to cleanse the local government from those involved in drugs, the legal process is the best way to ensure that those proven to be erring local executives can no longer serve or return to public office,” it said.

READ: Mayors, congressmen among 87 on narco list

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