VICE-PRESIDENT Maria Leonor G. Robredo on Wednesday said politicians linked to the government’s narco-list should be brought to court and not tried in public.
“Kasuhan sila sa korte para may pagkakataon sila na depensahan iyong sarili. Mahirap iyong trial by publicity, kasi ano iyong assurance natin na tama iyong information?” the Vice-President said during her visit in Nagcarlan, Laguna. (File charges against them in court to give them a chance to defend themselves. Trial by publicity would be problematic because what is our assurance that the information is correct?)
She added: “’Di ba noong nakaraang dalawa’t kalahating taon, maraming pagkakataon na binabawi iyong sinasabi, kasi hindi pala na-vet’ nang maayos. So ito, may mga mabibiktima na mga inosenteng tao.” (Isn’t it in the last two and a half years, there were many instances of statements being retracted since they were not vetted properly? So with this, innocent people might be victimized).
The remarks followed Presidential Spokesperson Salvador S. Panelo’s pronouncement that the list of narco-politicians may be released next week.
Mr. Panelo also said the evidence gathered were wiretapped by foreign states.
Ms. Robredo said that while she agrees that candidates involved in the drug trade should not be elected into office, the rule of law must still be observed.
The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency reported that of the 82 narco-politicians in its list, 64 are running in the midterm elections.
Ms. Robredo also said she would support moves to file charges against identified politicians ahead of the May 2019 polls.
“Oo naman, sa akin okay kasuhan. Kasi kung mayroon namang ebidensya, bakit hindi kasuhan? Para warning din siya sa tao, pero hindi tayo nagiging unfair. Kasi at least kapag kinasuhan sila, may pagkakataon silang depensahan iyong sarili,” she said. (Of course, filing charges is okay by me. Because if there’s evidence, why not file charges? That will also serve as a warning, and [send the signal] that we’re not being unfair. Because at least if they are charged, they have an opportunity to defend themselves).
Mr. Panelo also said the government is also considering filing administrative and criminal charges against narco-politicians. — Charmaine A. Tadalan