‘Narco-pols’ list came from inter-agency task force: PDEA chief

MANILA — Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Director General Aaron Aquino on Friday clarified that the list of narco-politicians released by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) was gathered by an inter-agency intelligence task force, and not by PDEA alone.

In a statement, Aquino said the Inter-Agency Validation Task Force was created last January through a directive from the National Security Council.

He said that in December 2016, PDEA officially received the narco-politicians list of President Rodrigo Duterte from the Office of the President.

“Since then, PDEA has been updating the list on a monthly basis through the Inter-Agency Validation Task Group, composed of PDEA, PNP (Philippine National Police), Directorate for Intelligence, Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces and National Intelligence Coordinating Agency,” Aquino said.

Every month, the PDEA, which is the inter-agency task force secretariat, submits an updated list to the Office of the President.

He noted that last September, the DILG visited PDEA’s office “to compare the PRRD list they secured from Malacanang with the updated list prepared by the Inter-Agency Validation Task Force”.

“The narco-politicians list is classified as secret,” Aquino said.

Aquino was clarifying a DILG news release issued Thursday announcing that 25 local chief executives were stripped of their control over local police after the National Police Commission (Napolcom) issued resolutions revoking the deputation of one governor from the Zamboanga region and 24 mayors from various regions for allegedly “engaging in acts inimical to national security” and “providing material support to criminal elements.”

The release noted that “according to the Napolcom, among the basis for the withdrawal of police power of some of the 25 local government officials is the report of PDEA on suspected narco-politicians”.

The Napolcom is an attached agency of the DILG.

Aquino, however, said PDEA remains supportive of DILG’s move in stripping local government unit’s powers over the police.

“Undeniably, illegal drugs have contaminated the bureaucracy. The data shows a continuous involvement of government officials and employees in the drug trade. From 2011, PDEA arrested a total of 401 government officials involved in drugs,” he said.

Aquino said under his leadership in PDEA, a total of 10 elected officials were arrested due to involvement in illegal drug activities — one mayor, one barangay captain and eight “kagawad”. Christopher Lloyd Caliwan/PNA – northboundasia.com