Ex-police chief claims narco list '99.9% validated'

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 5) — Former Philippine National Police chief Ronald "Bato" dela Rosa claimed that the so-called narco list submitted by the police to the Malacañang is "99.9 percent validated," even if the new police leadership insists on the list of politicians allegedly involved in illegal drugs be validated first before being released.

Dela Rosa told CNN Philippines' The Source on Tuesday that the police's narco list has been validated by the intelligence community. However, he cannot comment on the accuracy of the lists from the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the National Bureau of Investigation.

He also backed the release of the list, as long as it has been validated.

"Dapat ilabas 'yan para malaman ng taongbayan na ito ay dapat hindi iboboto dahil kawawa ang Pilipinas. Pinapamunuan tayo ng sindikato ng droga. Eh gusto mo bang maging narco-state tayo?" Dela Rosa said.

[Translation: That should be released so that the people would know who not to vote because the Philippines is pitiful. We are being led by drug syndicates. Do you want us to become a narco-state?]

However, his successor, Oscar Albayalde, admitted that there is difficulty in finding enough evidence to establish cases against alleged narcopoliticians.

"It's really hard to validate and get substantial or concrete evidence and documentary evidence. Puro tsismis kung minsan [Sometimes it's all rumors,] testimonial evidence," Albayalde said yesterday in a press briefing.

Malacañang said that if government officials who turn up in the list feel wronged, they can just file a case in court.

Last year, the government released a list of barangay officials who were allegedly involved in illegal drugs ahead of the village polls, despite admitting that there is not enough evidence to charge those in the list before courts.

The Commission on Human Rights has warned that the release of the list may prompt more election-related violence, while some lawmakers said that if there is enough evidence to put politicians' names on the list, the government should just file charges against them.

At least five local chief executives tagged in illegal drugs have been slain. Mayors Mariano Blanco III and Antonio Halili were shot dead, while Mayor Samsudin Dimaukom died in a shootout with anti-drug operatives, Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog Sr. was killed in a raid and Mayor Rolando Espinosa was killed in his jail cell.

CNN Philippines Correspondent Gerg Cahiles contributed to this report.