Gordon, who chairs the Senate’s blue ribbon committee, said that the Commission on Elections, Anti-Money Laundering Council, Bureau of Internal Revenue, National Bureau of Investigation and the Philippine National Police should look into 26 of the 46 politicians on the 'narco-list' who were elected into office in the midterm polls.
Geremy Pintolo, file
Gordon wants probe into bets on 'narco-list' who won in the midterm polls
(Philstar.com) - May 20, 2019 - 5:33pm

MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Richard Gordon said Monday that there should be an investigation into how local candidates whom Malacañang earlier accused of having drug links won in last week's elections.

In a statement, Gordon, who chairs the Senate’s blue ribbon committee, said that the Commission on Elections, Anti-Money Laundering Council, Bureau of Internal Revenue, National Bureau of Investigation and the Philippine National Police should look into 26 of the 46 politicians on the 'narco-list' who were elected into office in the midterm polls.

Gordon's sister-in-law Anne Marie Gordon lost the mayoral race in Olongapo City to Rolen Paulino Jr., son of the incumbent mayor. Paulino was on the same slate as Rep. Jeffrey Khonghun of the first district of Zambales.

Rep. Khonghun and his son Jefferson, mayor of Subic and vice governor-elect of Zambales, were both mentioned in the 'narco-list' that the Palace said was meant to guide voters in the May polls. The Department of the Interior and Local Government said it filed administrative cases against people in the list.

Days before the elections, Gordon accused Paulino and the Khonghuns of vote buying.

"I am chagrined by the massive vote buying by an alleged narcopolitician and his corrupt cohorts in my hometown. Narco-politics has arrived in Olongapo City and we are going to cut off its head. It is very clear that all these money come from drugs," he said in a press release posted on the Senate website.

RELATED: Mayors hit ‘politically-motivated’ inclusion in 'narco list'

PDEA: List 'somehow had an effect'

Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency Director General Aaron Aquino said last week that a majority of the local officials in the "narco-list" who won are mayors, while 11 officials on the list lost in the polls. Another 10 did not run for office.

Despite more than half of the officials named in the list again winning office, Aquino said he is not disappointed with the results. 

“If it were made public most likely, who knows, there are 46 (local officials) of them. Not everyone of them won. Somehow, there was an effect that half of the 46 did not win,” he said.

“While vote-buying may have become commonplace to some people, the inordinate, flagrant and scandalous vote-buying in areas where the narco-politicians won must be investigated. A lot of vote-buying occurred and there are affidavits to show that,” he added.

Gordon: AMLC should probe large-scale withdrawals

Gordon said the anti-money laundering watchdog should also probe where there were large-scale withdrawals from banks and who withdrew so appropriate complaints may be filed.

“The BIR should look into their capability, the Comelec should investigate, and the police should also investigate,” Gordon also said.

The senator also pointed out the politicians named on the list also fielded other family members to other local positions “to have the influence to ensure their protection from harassment.”

“They also forged alliances with local candidates who were also just as desperate to win to protect their graft and corrupt practices,” he added.

Gordon specifically noted the case in Zambales where the Khonghuns secured seats in the House of Representatives and in the capitol, respectively. This would make it easier for them to bring in drugs, the senator said.

“They now hold sway over these areas. Now, these people have proven that with just money, they can win, they can buy the Comelec, they can buy votes,” he said.

President Rodrigo Duterte on March released a list of 43 local chief executive and three congressmen suspected to have links with the illegal drug trade.

In an interview with ONE News’ “The Chiefs,” DILG Undersecretary Epimaco Densing III said that the department’s administrative complaints filed before the Office of the Ombudsman are for offenses of grave misconduct and dereliction of duty for their failure to curb the drug problem in their respective areas.

READ: 45 mayors face admin raps over absence of anti-drug councils

Densing, in the same interview, also admitted that the criminal investigation into the 46 politicians named in the list could be affected by the release of their names in public as they would now be more careful with the activities. — Kristine Joy Patag with a report from The STAR/Romina Cabrera

2019 MIDTERM ELECTIONS NARCOLIST RICHARD GORDON
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