MANILA — The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) will file administrative and criminal charges against politicians found on the “narco-list”, Malacañang said Tuesday.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo made this assurance following concerns that releasing a list of politicians allegedly involved in the illegal drug trade violates their right to due process.
Panelo said Interior Secretary Eduardo Año has bared that his department will release the “narco-list” next week while charges may be filed simultaneously.
“From what I gather from Secretary Año, next week ang parang nasabi niya (what he told me is next week) and he will be filing administrative charges, as well as criminal charges against those on the list. Either simultaneous or (it) doesn’t matter really kung ano mauna (which comes first),” he said in a Palace briefing.
Panelo further said the filing of administrative and criminal charges may include suspension of the involved “narco-politicians”.
“When you run for public office, everything is fair game. You open yourself to criticism, kakalkalin lahat yung buhay mo diyan. So nung pumasok sila diyan (they’ll dig up everything about your life. So when they entered the situation), they already took the risk of being exposed if they are involved,” he said.
Right to know
Panelo reiterated that releasing the “narco-list” would benefit the voters because it would give them the right to know “matters of public concern,” especially those that concern their lives and welfare.
“Don’t forget that the people have the right to be informed and more importantly, it’s the duty of the government to protect the citizenry from harm and as we know the drug industry has harmed us a lot,” he said.
He emphasized that waiting for charges to be filed before releasing the list would defeat the purpose of informing voters.
“You cannot let the people wait because it takes time filing charges. By the time you file charges, baka na-elect na yung mga ‘yun (the ‘narco-politicians’ might have already been elected),” Panelo said.
“We cannot allow people to run local governments or barangays by destroyers of society. People have the right to know,” he added.
Panelo said he has no personal knowledge of the personalities mentioned in the “narco-list” but noted that he would not be surprised should there be names of both political allies and opponents.
“I do not know the names but I will not be surprised if you are involved,” he said, reiterating that the “narco-list” has been verified by law enforcement agencies.
Panelo, meanwhile, bared that law enforcement agencies have verified the personalities on the list through various means, such as relying on surrenderers’ testimonies and surveillance.
Citing the President, he said foreign governments have also provided intelligence reports relative to criminal activities in the Philippines.
“Ang mga nagpo-provide sa atin, sa ibang bansa. Ang magagaling diyan Israel, America, Russia, China (The ones providing us with intelligence are from other countries. They’re coming from Israel, America, Russia, China),” Panelo said.
“I don’t think we have the capability. We don’t have that kind of equipment — and I’ve got that from the President himself when he said na may nagpo-provide ng impormasyon sa atin (that there are countries providing us with information),” he added.
Panelo said he sees nothing wrong with countries helping one another in fighting terrorism and criminality.
“Siguro (Perhaps) in the course of this cooperation, nagbibigay sila ng impormasyon (they’re giving us information),” he said.
Panelo also emphasized that no law states that it is illegal to share intelligence reports among countries if they are used to track down criminal activities.
“If it pinpoints a criminal activity, and the basis of that, you surveil the person subject of such information — hindi masama iyon (that’s not wrong),” he said.
“We should be thankful we are being provided with information relative to criminal activities in this country. We should be thankful because we will be destroying the criminal activities because of information given us,” he added. PNA – northboundasia.com