How does it feel to be in the narco list?
WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty. Josephus B Jimenez (The Freeman) - March 22, 2019 - 12:00am

I could only imagine that by this time all of those named by the administration are suffering from so much embarrassment, and their children, grandchildren must be shamed by the announcement covered by national television, radio, and print media, not just nationwide but globally, with CNN, and other global networks beaming the president’s speech to the four corners of the world.

I do not know any of the 46 or so listed by the DILG and read by the president last week, except Congressman Vicente S. Veloso of the third district of Leyte, who was a former NLRC commissioner a former Court of Appeals associate justice and, like me, a professor of Law and author of some law books. I know him to be a man of integrity, honor, and probity. In fact, he is the current House of Representative's chairman of the Committee on Constitutional amendments. He was very active in many House investigations and public hearings during the time of former speaker Pantaleon Alvarez. I know him from way back, as he is the younger half-brother of the first NLRC chairman, the late Alberto S. Veloso, my boss when I was appointed as labor arbiter and later as executive labor arbiter. I never heard any derogatory remarks against the now-beleaguered Vicente “Ching” Veloso.

I could only surmise how those mayors, vice mayors, and congressmen (the other two were from Ilocos Norte and Zambales) and one board member must have felt when they heard their names included in that list. They must have felt that they were condemned without due process of law, and that they were found declared guilty without first being heard. They must have expressed anger in having been deprived of their honor without having a day in court. I could feel the deepest pains, the shocking anguish, the sudden breaking of their hearts and the abrupt crumbling of their self-esteem. Their sadness, anguish, and pains must have been followed by sadness, anger, and outrage with an impulse to take retaliatory and defensive action.

I could also feel the outrage of the wives, the sons, daughters, and grandchildren, the rage of the brothers and sisters, and the wounded feelings of the parents and other close relatives. I could not project what is the effect of such shocking announcement to the candidates' ongoing campaign. For sure, their opponents will immediately use it as a lethal weapon in the propaganda and advertisement. For sure, those who hate the drug menace in our society would use it as a reason to withdraw support from the listed bets. On the other hand, that presidential announcement could also generate a sympathy vote for the affected candidates. They may call it a political persecution or an obvious character assassination of a winning hopeful.

Whatever it is, we need to understand that the DILG and the PDEA were only doing their jobs. They were ordered by the president himself to gather information, verify the names thoroughly, and check them over and over again. They were acting in good faith. They were not the ones who revealed the names in public. That was a draconian decision on the part of the head of state to inform the public of the evidence the government has gathered in connection with those 46 so-called “narco politicians”. It was not clear whether they were alleged drug lords, protectors, financiers, or masterminds.

But then again, what if there had been some mistakes or some malicious insertions of names motivated by money or malice? The damage to the names and reputation of many has already been committed. It is good that they were charged administratively. If guilty, they should be jailed. If innocent, they should be vindicated. And make the process fast and transparent, this is a matter of honor and integrity.

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