Duterte's party admits 10 of its bets in narco list

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 15) — The party of President Rodrigo Duterte admits at least 10 bets it is fielding in the midterm polls in May are in the government's so-called narco list.

Partido Demokratiko Pilipino - Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) spokesperson Ronwald Munsayac told CNN Philippines that these politicians hold certificates of nomination and acceptance from the party.

Munsayac said they are validating the names with their own list. He added that the party will take action immediately.

But based on the Commission on Election's official list of candidates, eight of the 46 names in the narco list are running under PDP-Laban.

PDP-Laban President Senator Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III said in a text message that the party will require its members whose names appeared in the list to explain why they have been linked to illegal drugs.

"If we find their explanation to be unsatisfactory then we will expel them from the PDP-Laban. The party has no place for narco politicians as well as for corrupt officials. We do not want them in our party," Pimentel said.

Pimentel could not immediately confirm to CNN Philippines if they have members in the list. He said he is waiting for a report from their headquarters in Davao.

Meanwhile, the Nationalist People's Coalition and the Nacionalista Party have eight candidates each in the narco list, Lakas-CMD has four, the National Unity Party (NUP) has two and five are running as independent bets.

Duterte, party chairman of PDP-Laban, named Thursday dozens of politicians in the government's narco list, which he described as "somewhat validated."

Media watchdogs and rights groups have warned against the release of the list, saying it may be used for the persecution of political opponents.

CNN Philippines Correspondent Gerg Cahiles contributed to this report.