PDEA director general Aaron Aquino said cases are being prepared against the 207 officials in the list, whether they won or lost in last Monday’s polls.
Boy Santos
PDEA preparing raps vs narco barangay officials
(The Philippine Star) - May 17, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Now that the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections are over, the head of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) said criminal charges are being readied against both winning and losing barangay officials included in the government’s narco list.

PDEA director general Aaron Aquino said cases are being prepared against the 207 officials in the list, whether they won or lost in last Monday’s polls.

Aquino said the narco list “helped a lot” in guiding the voting public on whom to vote for in the recently concluded elections.

He added that he was happy as many of those in the list lost their bid for reelection.

“Sa totoo lang the list helped a lot. Ang panganib if hindi na-disclose ‘tong list na ‘to baka nanalo lahat (The truth is the list helped a lot. The danger was, if the list had not been made public, everyone would have won),” he said in a phone interview.

Among the losing candidates is Tinajeros, Malabon barangay captain Alvin Mañalac who faces a complaint before the Office of the Ombudsman following the discovery of a drug laboratory within his jurisdiction last month.

Moreover, initial reports reaching the PDEA showed that there are 26 barangay captains and 15 kagawads (councilors) who won in the elections despite being included in the narco list, six of whom won seats in Metro Manila.

Aquino explained that these are initial figures as PDEA offices in Regions 2, 4A, 5, 7, 8, 13 and the Cordillera Administrative Region have not submitted their reports as of press time.

He also lamented that there have been reports of massive vote buying, which may have led to the reelection of the narco-listed officials.

Aquino alleged that drug money may have been used in the barangay elections, one of the possibility raised by President Duterte when he batted for the postponement of the polls.

Duterte ordered the release of the narco list two weeks before the May 14 elections, a move criticized by some groups.

The PDEA and other law enforcement agencies have repeatedly defended the release of the drug list, claiming that this was not a hit list and all information has been verified.

As this developed, House of Representatives Minority Leader Danilo Suarez said yesterday he has filed a bill in the House that will increase the honoraria and allowances of barangay captains and councilmen.

“Given their scope of work and other demands of their jobs, what the barangay officials are receiving is a mere pittance compared to the compensation and benefits of other local government officials,” he told reporters, endorsing his House Bill 598.

The measure seeks to amend the Local Government Code of 1991, proposing a one percent increase to the usual 40 percent share of the local government unit in the national internal revenue taxes, making it 41 percent.

The congressman from Quezon province said this one percent should be “placed in a special account solely dedicated to the barangay retirement fund for the retirement pay of barangay officials, whether elected or appointed, including tanods (watchmen), health workers.”

“The lump sum retirement pay shall be equivalent to one year honorarium, not exceeding P100,000, provided that the retiree is 60 years old and has rendered a minimum of nine years in service at the time of retirement,” Suarez said.

“We must remember that our barangay workers are the first points of contact in terms of providing goods and services. During times of need, barangay officials are on call to the members of their respective communities,” he added.

Under the Local Government Code, barangay officials receive a basic honorarium of P1,000 monthly for chairman and P600 for councilor and a Christmas bonus of at least P1,000. Other benefits include insurance and medical care benefits, free hospitalization and free tuition. – With Delon Porcalla

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