PDEA asks public not to vote for nearly 300 village officials included in narco-list
The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency urged on Saturday the public not to vote for drug-tainted barangay officials who are seeking reelection in the coming barangay polls on May 14.
In a statement, PDEA Director General Aaron N. Aquino said 143 barangay chairmen and 146 barangay councillors are included on the narco-list of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte.
“The number is expected to increase once the validated list of barangay officials engaged in drug trade who are included in the PDEA National Drug Information System (NDIS), sets in,” he said.
He said the barangay candidates who are involved in illegal drugs do not deserve the people's votes.
Aquino said that it is very likely drug money may seep into the electoral process of barangay elections due to the influence of drug syndicates. “Obviously, they will only support local candidates who will give them protection in return”.
“Incumbent barangay officials, or prospective bets who are linked to drugs, may continue to lord it over the polls. We do not want that to happen. Our destiny lies in our own hands. We are appealing to the public to wisely choose our next community leaders,” Aquino added.
Meanwhile, the Department of Interior and Local Government said it would be up to PDEA to release to the public the names of the village officials who are allegedly involved in illegal drugs.
"Whatever the decision of PDEA in this matter has our full support," said DILG spokesperson Assistant Secretary Jonathan Malaya in a separate statement.
He said the narco list was prepared and maintained by PDEA and not by the DILG.
"What the DILG and its attached agencies do is to provide information on drug personalities and activities to PDEA for verification and inclusion in the narco list. As lead agency in the fight against illegal drugs, PDEA prepares and finalizes the list and acts on it accordingly," he said.
Pursuant to Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Law, PDEA is the overall lead agency in the anti-illegal drug campaign. It also serves as the chair of the Interagency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD) created by the President under Executive Order No. 15.
Should there be evidence against incumbent barangay officials, DILG OIC-Secretary Eduardo M. Año has directed the Philippine National Police to do case build up so that the necessary cases can be filed against them without delay, Malaya said. DMS