Oplan Tokhang’ may target barangay officials on narco list

By: Inquirer.net May 02,2018 - 05:19 PM

Barangay officials included the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency’s (PDEA) list of those allegedly involved in illegal drugs may soon be the subject of ‘Oplan Tokhang,’ a police official said Wednesday.

“The directive of the national headquarters will be followed. If that will be the directive, we will do that,” National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) chief director Camilo Pancratius P. Cascolan said when asked if those included in the list would be subjected to the police’s controversial program.

The PDEA on Monday bared the list of 207 barangay officials allegedly involved in illegal drugs — 90 of whom were barangay chairmen and 117 were councilors.

The agency published the list despite warnings from some human rights groups that doing so would be a violation of due process.

PDEA chief Director General Aaron Aquino said that no less than President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the release of the list, which was validated by PDEA, the Philippine National Police, Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, and the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency.

Aquino, however, explained that the validation is merely a confirmation from the agencies that the officials are really involved in illegal drugs.
Hence, authorities may need to collate more evidence against those in the list, which is also referred to as the “narcolist.”

Cascolan said the PNP is scheduled to meet with the PDEA to “try to seek what they really want” with the narcolist.

Meanwhile, the police would continue building up cases against the officials in the narcolist, but if they could not gather strong evidence against them, police may resort to a buy-bust operation.
The barangay officials may also be subjected to financial investigation, Cascolan added.

The Metro Manila police chief broached the idea that the officials may surrender to authorities. While it may not absolve them of wrongdoing, the act may ease their penalty.

“When they surrender, it is a mitigating circumstance, [penalties] will depend on the prosecutor,” he said.

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TAGS: barangay, narco list, Oplan TokHang, target

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