President Rodrigo Duterte is seen showing his so-called "narco-list" during one of his speeches.
The STAR/Michael Varcas
Release of 'narco-list' does not violate human rights, Palace says, despite past inaccuracies
Audrey Morallo ( - April 27, 2018 - 3:31pm

MANILA, Philippines — Releasing a list of candidates supposedly involved in the trade of illegal drugs does not violate any human right, Malacañang said on Friday, as rights advocates and groups continue to slam the decision.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said that the order of President Rodrigo Duterte for the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency to release the government’s list of so-called narco-politicians did not violate the human rights of individuals to be named as they were running for elective government posts.

He said that the list would just “confirm” what was supposedly common knowledge among residents of a village who knew the people involved in illegal drugs in their communities.

“There’s not violation in that (decision) because what we are talking about is an elective government position,” Roque said in an interview with the state radio broadcaster.

PDEA this week said that it would release a village drug list containing 211 community officials supposedly linked to the trade of illegal drugs, just weeks before the elections on May 14.

PDEA spokesperson Derrick Carreon, in a phone interview with, said that the order came from the president himself amid supposed public clamor for the disclosure of the names.

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

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

Carreon sought to assuage fears over the authenticity of the names and allegation, saying that the intelligence units of the police and the military and the Intelligence Coordinating Agency helped in the verification of the individuals.

Carreon added that charges against the to-be-named individuals would be forthcoming in the next few days.

The Commission on Human Rights and an opposition congressman both cautioned the government against its plan, saying PDEA should observe due process.

The CHR said that although it understood the reason behind PDEA’s impending release of documents the presumption of innocence and right to due process should not be compromised.

“People in the village know who’s involved in drugs. If your name is on the list, it’s just a confirmation. Let us leave the people in the village (to make the decision) because they really know their neighbors and if the list is accurate or not,” he said.

The international human rights watchdog Human Rights Watch meanwhile warned that the release of the list would result in more bloodshed.

Duterte and his government have been criticized local and internationally for their brutal crackdown on illegal drugs which has killed thousands of Filipinos most of whom belong to the country’s urban poor.

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