DESPITE winning in the recent midterm elections, politicians on the so-called ‘narcolist’ are not off the hook as the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) said it will still pursue administrative charges filed against them.

Last March, the DILG filed administrative charges of grave misconduct, conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service, conduct unbecoming of a public officer, and gross neglect of duty before the Office of the Ombudsman against 46 politicians whom President Rodrigo R. Duterte said were involved in the narcotics trade.

“The purpose of President Duterte in releasing the names was to inform the public of the local officials who are linked to the drug trade. The fact that some of them lost is already a substantial victory for us because if we didn’t release the names, more, if not all, could have won the election,” said DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año.

Of the 46 politicians on the president’s list, 37 ran for public office during the last elections, and 26 won.

The winning politicians on Mr. Duterte’s list include two congressmen, one vice-governor, 18 mayors, three vice-mayors, one councilor, and one board member. The politicians are said to come from Calabarzon, Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, Eastern Visayas, Ilocos Region, Northern Mindanao, Western Visayas, Central Luzon, Zamboanga Peninsula, SOCCKSARGEN, and Caraga.

“Kahit na pinalad silang manalo, tuloy pa rin ang administrative cases laban sa kanila (Even though they won the elections, the administrative cases filed against them will still continue). Hindi pa rin sila makakalusot kung sila ay mapapatunayang sangkot talaga sa iligal na droga (They will still not get out of this if it is proven that they are involved in the illegal drugs business),” said Mr. Año.

Mr. Año also said that the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency will pursue the criminal cases as they have the evidence necessary for case build up.

Further, the DILG chief said that there is a possibility that drug money was used during the election campaign.

“It’s not impossible that drug money was used in the campaign so that could have been a factor in their victory considering the prevalence of vote buying in the last election,” he said. — Vince Angelo C. Ferreras