Lacson urges gov’t to build up cases vs. ‘narco-politicians’

MANILA -- Senator Panfilo Lacson on Friday urged the government to build up cases against politicians allegedly involved in illegal drugs as he cited several consequences in releasing the so-called narco-list.

In a radio interview, Lacson said unveiling the political figures on the list would give them a chance to take a backseat and lie low, which would give authorities a more difficult time in their surveillance and process of building up cases.

"Ang mas masama, maalarma ang mismong nasa lista at kung totoo involved sa droga, alangang magpapatuloy yan, mag-iingat yan. So mas mahirapan ang kapulisan at PDEA na surveillance yan kasi conscious siya minamanmanan pala siya dahil may intel report kung siya talagang involved (What's worse is, those on the list, especially with real drug links, would stop for a while and be more careful. So the police and PDEA [Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency] would have a difficult time in the surveillance because those [narco-politicians] would be more conscious that they are being monitored since there is an intel report that they are involved)," he said.

Lacson noted that if the police kept the information to themselves, they could build up a case, gather evidence and witnesses, and file the appropriate charges in court.

He also warned against the release of the narco-list, especially if not validated, as it would be a means to shame these officials, and could eventually serve as death warrants for them.

"Pangalawa hihiyain mo yan. Pangatlo pwedeng mapatay yan ng kung sinong eager beaver na gusto magmagaling. Halimbawa mali pala, nangyari yan in the past, si Governor Espino napangalanan. Tapos binawi, paano ang iba na di involved na hindi nabawi? (Secondly, you are shaming them. Thirdly, they could be killed by some eager beaver who wants to set things right. For example, like what happened in the past, Governor Espino was wrongly named. That was already retracted, but what about those who were wrongfully included in the list but were never corrected?)" Lacson said.

He also stressed that wiretapped information from foreign sources linking Filipinos to crimes, such as illegal drugs, is a violation of Philippine law and the State's policy to protect its citizens.

He contested Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra's reported pronouncement that if the wiretapped conversation came from a country where wiretapping is not illegal, it "may be passed on to the Philippine government and considered admissible in Philippine courts."

"Mr. Secretary, possession of wiretapped material is also an offense," Lacson said in a post on his Twitter account.

Under Republic Act 4200 or the anti-wiretapping law, it is unlawful for any person not authorized by all the parties to any private communication or spoken word to secretly record such communication.

Section 2 of the law adds it is also unlawful "to knowingly possess" records or copies of any communication or spoken word secured via wiretapping.

Source: Philippines News Agency