DILG files cases vs. 46 ‘narco politicians’

MANILA -- Acting upon orders of President Rodrigo Duterte, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Thursday filed complaints before the Office of the Ombudsman against 46 incumbent government officials for their alleged involvement in illegal drug trade and activities.

DILG Secretary Eduardo M. AAo said the initial list of narco politicians facing charges before the Ombudsman were provided by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA).

The initial list released to the public by the President includes 35 mayors, seven vice-mayors, one provincial board member, and three members of the House of Representatives.

He said the 46 narco politicians are facing administrative charges of grave misconduct, conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service, conduct unbecoming of a public officer, and gross neglect of duty.

AAo said the involvement of the respondents to illegal drugs was evaluated and judiciously validated by the Interagency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD) chaired by PDEA in coordination with the Philippine National Police (PNP), Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA), among others.

ICAD, which was created under Executive Order No. 15, consists of several government agencies tasked to oversee and synchronize government efforts to combat the proliferation of illegal drugs in the country. DILG is one of the member-agencies of ICAD.

The DILG's involvement in the ICAD is impelled by its statutory role as general supervisor of local government units (LGUs) and their officials to ensure that they are performing their duties and functions under the law, AAo said.

As early as August 2016, President Duterte has already announced a list of names of personalities who are allegedly involved in the illegal drug trade which includes magistrates, local executives, and retired and active police officers.

Consequent to the President's announcement, the ICAD, in coordination with PDEA, PNP, AFP, NICA and other agencies, conducted and performed further validation on the personalities included in the list and those who, while initially excluded, were found to be potential violators, coddlers, and active participants and stakeholders in the illegal drug trade.

While the vetting and validations were separately done by the agencies, the process was coordinated and synchronized under the leadership of PDEA to ensure that all bases are covered and that no lapses will be made in the process, DILG Undersecretary and spokesperson Jonathan Malaya said.

Malaya said the filing of charges shows that the ICAD chaired by PDEA is confident with the list.

With the filing of cases with the Ombudsman, those in the initial narco list that was released by the President will now have an opportunity to refute or rebut the allegations against them, he said.

Based on regional location, there is one each in Ilocos Region, Cagayan Valley, Mimaropa (Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, Palawan), and Caraga Region; two each from Central Visayas and Zamboanga Peninsula; three each from Central Luzon and Soccsksargen; four in Northern Mindanao; and five in Western Visayas.

Meanwhile, Calabarzon and Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) each have 10 local officials on the narco list.

Source: Philippines News Agency