DILG may release gov't narco list if Comelec won't disqualify corrupt, drug-linked politicians

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 12) — The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) may publicly release the government's narco list, in case the Commission on Elections (Comelec) will not disqualify alleged corrupt and drug-linked politicians.

Interior Assistant Secretary Jonathan Malaya on Friday said they will forward to the poll body the names of the politicians allegedly linked to drugs and corruption once the filing of Certificates of Candidacy (COC) for the 2019 midterm polls is over.

The department earlier sent out a proposal to Comelec, asking the latter's help to disqualify the said political aspirants.

However, if the poll body rejects their request, DILG said authorities will talk to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and the Office of the President. Just like the barangay elections earlier this year, the department may have to resort in making public the names of these politicians.

"This is a very volatile situation," Malaya said.

"Ang naging desisyon namin nung nakaraang eleksyon for barangay (Our decision during the past barangay elections) was we talked with PDEA and released the list to the public. We don't know if we will do it this time. We will have to check first with the President kung ano yung kanyang decision on this," he added.


Some lawmakers and election experts have slammed DILG's proposal, saying that disqualifying candidates based on a list is unconstitutional.

Former Comelec chairman Sixto Brillantes told CNN Philippines that basis for disqualification should only come from the judiciary or the courts. He added that as long as aspirants are qualified to run under the constitution, then the DILG cannot interfere with the poll process.

READ: Election experts: Disqualification based on corrupt, narco list 'unconstitutional'

Comelec, for its part, said it has referred the letters of DILG and PDEA to the body's law department for further studies.

Chairman Sheriff Abas said there should be rightful due process before they can entertain the agencies' proposals.

"Unang-una, kailangan may due process, hindi pwedeng dahil nasa listahan ka, ma-disqualify ka agad," Abas told reporters in a media briefing Friday.  "And titingnan natin yung listahan kung under the rules, pu-pwede ba natin silang i-disqualify."

[Translation: First of all, there should be due process. It's not possible that just because you're in the list, you can already be disqualified. And we will also take a look at the list, if we can disqualify them under the rules.]

Newly-appointed Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo meanwhile echoed Comelec's statement on due process.

Related: Panelo to become Duterte's spokesman 'temporarily'

In his first media briefing as President Rodrigo Duterte's spokesman, Panelo said there should first be an official complaint before any disqualification talk can take place.

"You cannot just disqualify on the basis of suspicion," Panelo told reporters in Malacañang. "It might violate the due process in the constitution."