‘Narco-pols’ down to 85, may still run for office

By: Delta Dyrecka Letigio and Inquirer.net, Nestle Semilla October 14,2018 - 10:52 PM

The number of “narco-politicians” has been trimmed down to 85 after the arrest and death of eight others, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) said.

PDEA Director General Aaron Aquino said the 85 “narco-politicians” are part of the 6,400 individuals in the narcolist.

“Lahat na ‘yun, kasama na ang uniformed service doon, government elected officials, mga civilians, even media, celebrities, judges, nandoon na po lahat doon sa 6,000 plus na ‘yun,” Aquino described the persons in the narco-list, over an interview with dzMM.
(It’s complete, including the uniformed service, government elected officials, civilians, even media, celebrities, judges — they’re all there in the 6,000 plus.)

“Even PDEA, even police, nandoon lahat sa listahan na iyon (they’re all on the list),” he added.

Aquino also said that he went to the office of President Rodrigo Duterte last week to ask for help on how to adjudicate the high number of people on the narcolist.

“Pumunta ako kay Presidente, sabi ko sa kanya ‘Sir, it’s a nightmare. I don’t know what will I do with this … thick na listahan. I proposed na lahat ito ay i-adjudicate natin’,” he said.
(I went to the President and told him, “Sir, this is a nightmare. I don’t know what I’ll do with this thick list. I propose that we adjudicate everyone on here.)

Aquino is apparently referring only to the gathering of evidence against those in the narco-list. If they find evidence to link him, then a case is filed against him. If they determine that he is innocent, then he is removed from the list.

The PDEA chief added that he told the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines to adjudicate their members who were included in the 6,400 individuals.

According to Aquino, the adjudication process of the PDEA would start next week and would first focus on the 85 politicians.

In Cebu, three elective officials are in the narco-list of President Duterte, former Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama, slain Ronda Mayor Mariano Blanco, and Daanbantayan Mayor Vicente Loot.

Blanco was killed inside his office in the municipal hall by at least three men.

Loot has been hiding and fulfilling his mayoral duties outside of the municipal hall. His family says he will no longer run for reelection.

Rama, on the other hand is running as vice mayor for Cebu City.

Officials from PRO-7 and PDEA-7 said they have not seen the latest narco-list.

May still run
The Commission on Election (COMELEC) Cebu City Election Officer, lawyer Marchel Sarno said that even if PDEA adjudicates these 85 narco-politicians, they will still be allowed to run in the elections unless they are penalized with disqualification to hold office.

“We are presumed innocent unless proven otherwise. Og naay mo-file sa court dili man pasabot sad-an ka. (If someone files a case against you in court, it doesn’t mean you are already convicted),” said Sarno.
Sarno assured that as long as there is no directive from the COMELEC central office, COMELEC Cebu City will accept certificate of candidacies (COCs) from eligible candidates including Rama who was listed as a narco-politician.

“Ministerial lang amo trabaho and if kumpleto ang form and attachment, amo dawaton. (Our job is ministerial and the form and attachment are complete, we will accept it),” said Sarno.

COMELEC Cebu Provincial Election Supervisor, lawyer Lionel Castellano agreed with Sarno that only those who were convicted may be disqualified from running in the elections.

“Only those convicted of crimes, the penalty is more than one year and involving moral turpitude can be disqualified,” Castellano said in a text message.

Both Castellano and Sarno said that COMELEC will be releasing a statement within the next days on the proposition of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) to disqualify candidates part of the narco-list.

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TAGS: drugs, narco-politicians, narcolist, Pdea, war against drugs

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