The Department of Justice (DOJ) said there is no way to prevent the flight of the 46 elected officials in the list since no criminal charges have been filed against them yet.
Rudy Santos
Mayor in narco list allowed to leave Philippines
Edu Punay, Elizabeth Marcelo (The Philippine Star) - March 21, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — A mayor in President Duterte’s narco list was able to leave the country last Tuesday, the Bureau of Immigration (BI) confirmed yesterday.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) said there is no way to prevent the flight of the 46 elected officials in the list since no criminal charges have been filed against them yet.

Based on BI records, Mayor Crisinciano Enot Mahilac of Sinacaban, Misamis Occidental left for Singapore with his family at around 8 p.m. on Tiger Air flight TR391.

In a text message, BI spokesperson Dana Sandoval said the mayor was initially questioned by immigration personnel but was eventually allowed to leave because he has no “derogatory record.”

The BI said the mayor and his family are expected to return to the country today as stated in their return flight tickets.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said the alleged narco politicians could only be prevented from leaving the country once criminal charges are filed against them before the prosecutor’s office.

Guevarra said this is the only time they can apply for provisional hold departure order in court.

“For now the best we can do is to issue immigration lookout bulletin orders, which are merely for foreign travel monitoring purposes only,” Guevarra explained in a text message.

The alleged involvement of 46 local officials in the illegal drug trade is still under probe by the National Bureau of Investigation for possible filing of criminal charges.

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has filed administrative charges against the 46 before the ombudsman prior to the President’s announcement of the narco list.

Yesterday, the DILG also filed an administrative complaint against six municipal mayors over their alleged failure to organize their respective Anti-Drugs Abuse Council (ADACs).

DILG Assistant Secretary for external and legislative affairs Ricojudge Echiverri charged the six mayors before the Office of the Ombudsman with misconduct in office and dereliction of duty under Section 60 of Republic Act 7160 or the Local Goverment Code.

Charged were Mayors Josephine Cruz (Donsol, Sorsogon), Gybel Cardenas (Bucloc, Abra), Gerardo Luglug (Hingyon, Ifugao), Froilan Andueza (Claveria, Masbate), Khristine Salve Hao-Kho (Mandaon, Masbate) and Demosthenes Arabaca (Magallanes, Agusan del Norte).

Echiverri, in the six separate complaints, said the respondents continue to defy the directives of the DILG and the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) for each municipal and city government to organize their ADACs.

“The failure of the respondent(s) to create the local ADAC can be classified as a misconduct in office or a dereliction of duty which is among the grounds for discipline, suspension or removal from office of a local official,” the DILG’s complaint read.

Echiverri further said the DILG and DDB already issued memoranda directing the local government units to organize their ADACs to aid the national government in the campaign against illegal drugs, but the respondents failed to heed the call.

Echiverri explained that each ADAC is vital in the administration’s drug war as it is mandated to provide vital information to law enforcement agencies such the Philippine National Police and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency on the extent or scope of illegal drug operations in the locality.

Climate of fear

Senatorial candidates from the opposition slate Otso Diretso said yesterday local government officials have been “secretly” supporting them because they are afraid to come out for fear of being included in narco list.?

In a press conference after their campaign sorties in Navotas and Malabon, Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano said he personally heard from barangay officials that they were afraid of getting included in the narco list if they get in the way of government.?

“But there are several local government officials who secretly support us. Let us not underestimate the leaders of the country,” Alejano said.?

Former solicitor general Florin Hilbay added the administration has been successful in sowing a “climate of fear” by using the narco list to intimidate local government officials.?

Former deputy speaker Erin Tañada said the release of Duterte’s narco list was suspicious as it happened during the campaign period. 

He said the list of suspected narco politicians was meant to intimidate local government officials so they will not support the opposition slate.?“It has a chilling effect, but local government officials do show support in their different ways,” Tañada said.?The opposition candidates held a dialogue with residents of the Navotas fishport and various sectors and senior citizens in Malabon during their campaign sorties yesterday. – With Marc Jayson Cayabyab

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