CA orders government: Remove congressman’s name from narco list

Evelyn Macairan - The Philippine Star
CA orders government: Remove congressmanâs name from narco list
A photo of the Court of Appeals in Ermita, Manila.
The STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines — The Duterte administration has suffered another legal setback at the Court of Appeals (CA), which ordered law enforcement agencies to remove the name of Leyte third district Rep. Vicente Veloso III from the narco list.

In a five-page resolution promulgated on June 8, the appellate court’s former Special Eighth Division directed the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, Philippine National Police (PNP), Armed Forces of the Philippines, National Intelligence Coordinating Agency and the Department of the Interior and Local Government to destroy all “documents, records and information pertaining to the petitioner’s inclusion in the narco list.”

“They are further ordered to rectify the said narco list and delete the name of the petitioner. They are also enjoined from further including the petitioner’s name in any publicized derogatory list that fails to follow due process,” the CA resolution read.

The CA granted the privileges of the writ of habeas data to Veloso.

The resolution made it clear that the habeas data will not prevent the government from filing a criminal complaint against Veloso if they have evidence, “which should have been done to begin with as a matter of due process.”

“It should not be construed as an absolute censure on the part of the government to take actions against personalities who are involved in illegal drug trade and other criminal activities. Any course of action, however, which fails to observe respect for constitutional rights will never be tolerated,” the court added.

Associate Justice Apolinario Bruselas Jr. wrote the resolution, with concurrences from Associate Justices Germano Francisco Legaspi and Ruben Reynaldo Roxas.

In March 2019, President Duterte included Veloso in his list of narco politicians.

The administration recently lost two cases at the CA, both related to its bid to jail former senator Antonio Trillanes IV for rebellion charges for which he had been granted amnesty by then president Benigno Aquino III.

Meanwhile, the PNP yesterday said it has no record of Veloso’s inclusion in the government’s narco list.

The PNP said it received a copy of the CA’s order on Tuesday.

The PNP Directorate for Intelligence has informed the CA that Veloso is not a subject of any information report.

“As far as the PNP is concerned, we are not affected by the CA order since we have no record on Veloso’s inclusion in the narco list,” the PNP said. — Emmanuel Tupas



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