“Yes and yes. Or would you rather hindi na talaga lalabas ’yung pangalan nila (that their names remain undisclosed)?” the President told reporters at Malacañang.
Toto Lozano/PPD
Go ahead, release narco politicians list, Duterte tells DILG
Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) - February 21, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — President Duterte yesterday supported the proposal of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) to release the list of politicians involved in the illegal drug trade before this year’s elections.

“Yes and yes. Or would you rather hindi na talaga lalabas ’yung pangalan nila (that their names remain undisclosed)?” the President told reporters at Malacañang.

“It’s up to (Interior Secretary Eduardo) Año to decide on that. I do not interfere in his job,” he added.

Malacañang officials also expressed support for the proposal to release the list of politicians involved in the illegal drug trade, but called on authorities to ensure that the information to be disclosed is verified to avoid unfairly maligning candidates running in the May elections.

Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo noted that Duterte had previously disclosed the names of some of the officials with alleged ties to narcotics syndicates.

“If he released it before, why would he contradict it?” Panelo asked.

When pressed whether the release of the list would violate the politicians’ right to be presumed innocent, Panelo replied: “Presumption of innocence will apply on those who were charged.”

Panelo said candidates who were wrongly accused of protecting drug syndicates could always file charges against the authorities.

He said candidates who lose because of allegations that they are into the narcotics trade could run again in succeeding elections.

To avoid erroneous entries, Panelo said anti-drug operatives should make sure that all the information they would release are based on evidence.

In 2016, Duterte apologized to former Pangasinan governor Amado Espino Jr., provincial administrator Rafael Baraan and board member Raul Sison, three of the local officials who were included in the narco list. The President admitted that the administration was negligent in counter-checking the reports.

“Perhaps they’ve (anti-drug operatives) learned the lesson,” Panelo said. “There should be sufficient evidence otherwise they (politicians wrongly accused) would get back at you.”

Endorsements

Aside from oversized and misplaced campaign materials, product endorsements by candidates in the May 13 midterm polls are also prohibited, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) said yesterday.

Comelec Commissioner Rowena Guanzon noted that product endorsements in any form are considered unlawful once the campaign period starts.

“It has always been banned. That is the law. Once a person becomes a candidate, all of those product endorsement should have been taken down,” she added.

This means that candidates for senators are banned from endorsing products or services starting Feb. 12 when the campaign period for national candidates started.

Such prohibition will apply to candidates for local positions when the campaign period for them begins on March 29.

According to Guanzon, it is not the concern of the Comelec if candidates have contractual obligations with the companies whose product they are promoting.

“That is not my contract. That is between them. They (candidates) fully know, their contractors know they are going to be entering an election period... You cannot have a contract that is contrary to law, policy or good custom,” she maintained.

The official said the Comelec is “more active now than before” in implementing campaign rules because of the presidential race in 2022.

“You know we have to start somewhere... since this election is a prequel to the big fight in 2022,” she added. – With Sheila Crisostomo

2019 MIDTERM ELECTIONS DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT
Philstar
  • Latest
  • Trending
Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?
X
Login

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

SIGN IN
or sign in with