The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) said they have yet monitored politicians in Davao region who are running in this election involved in illegal drug activities.
In a text message Sunday, DILG Sec. Eduardo Año said the list they have doesn’t include any narco-politician in Davao.
“So far wala akong makita na taga Davao,” Año texted TIMES.
In an earlier press briefing, Chief Supt. Marcelo Morales, the director of Police Regional Office XI, said they are monitoring some incumbent and former elected government officials who are into illegal drug activities.
Morales said they have yet to receive any listing from the DILG, its mother agency, but they are doing “intelligence report.”
“We don’t want a conflict between our list and the official DILG list,” he added.
Año said they would be releasing the narco-politician list within this month before the campaign period for local candidates starts on March 30.
The narco list targets congressmen, governors, vice governors, provincial board members, mayors, vice mayors, and councilors.
In the previous list of narco-politicians, only barangay officials in Davao region were on the list.
Año said they are validating the list so those innocent public officials will not be included.
He said they would seek President Rodrigo Duterte’s approval before releasing the list. The president has expressed his support for the listing.
Meanwhile, DILG 11 director Alex Roldan said alleged narco politicians in the government’s watch list are presumed “not guilty unless proven beyond reasonable doubt.”
But Roldan told reporters Friday that he prefers to have President Duterte or Sec. Año release the alleged narco list, raising concerns that he might be misconstrued as supporting the opponents of the candidates in the narco list since it is election season.
“Have mercy on us because we are the ones on the ground,” he said.
Roldan feared that releasing the alleged “narco list” through the regional offices of the DILG will endanger the lives of the local executives.
He did not confirm if there were politicians in the region in that list.
“In drugs, ‘violence begets violence’ and we do not want that to happen. It is good for them in the higher office because they can do it more easily,” Roldan said, adding that the higher office must release it if they have sufficient evidence.
He said he does not have the so-called narco list of the government.
“If I would be given with a list, I do not want to look at it… We are not in the right position to say that they are involved because the intelligence reports are not with us,” he said.
Roldan said they could not verify the alleged involvement of the personalities in the narco list in illegal drugs.
DILG 11 assistant regional director Abdullah Matalam said of the 82 politicians in the list, 62 are running in the May elections.
“The question arises if the release will be against the Constitution, of the Bill of Rights. Why? Because the person is still presumed innocent until proven guilty, so many objected to it. But what the Secretary is saying, if the President will oblige him to do something to release it, so the Secretary will abide to do that,” he said. (with reports from Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)