THE Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) wants President Rodrigo R. Duterte to make public the names of candidates involved in illegal drugs, according to his spokesman.
“Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) has announced that it is pushing for the President’s approval for the release of a list containing the names of politicians or candidates involved in illegal drug activities in order to guide the voters as they elect their respective leaders in the midterm elections next year,” Presidential Spokesman and Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador S. Panelo said in a statement on Wednesday, Oct. 17.
Mr. Panelo added that Mr. Duterte “has yet to categorically announce if he will approve the release of this list amid the forthcoming elections.”
He said the President is considering “all rights and interests involved in order to ensure that the 2019 elections is not only credible and peaceful but also one that is truly reflective of the people’s desires and aspirations.”
But in a press conference in Davao City last Oct. 12, Mr. Duterte said he will not disclose the names of the alleged narco-politicians. “No, I will not. It’s not a good policy to let know the — to telegraph your intention or what you know about the other fellow, especially in matters of breaking penal laws. No, I will not. We will not in government,” he said.
Mr. Panelo for his part said: “The Narco-lists prepared by our law enforcement agencies, including the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, are not products of mere conceptions but are based on intelligence reports which underwent a series of comprehensive assessments. The public can thus be assured that these lists are credible and not propaganda tools to taint the characters of candidates. At the same time, release of narco-lists should not be perceived as a verdict against those candidates named therein as they are free to seek recourse and object to the findings of our authorities in clearing their reputations. To be sure, the sole purpose of releasing such lists is for voters to be informed of personalities involved in destroying or ravaging our nation through facilitating the proliferation of dangerous drugs in our societies.”
The President’s spokesman also said the DDB’s position “finds basis on the people’s right to information, which certainly includes the right to be cognizant of the profile, background and upbringing of candidates we will choose to elect to powerful positions.”
Filipinos “have the right to know these in order for [them] to make intelligent and studied choices when [they] go to the polls next year and exercise [their] right of suffrage,” Mr. Panelo said. — Arjay L. Balinbin