Malacañang defended the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) for mulling the release of politicians allegedly linked to illegals drugs trade, even if they are yet to be prosecuted.
Amid the issue that the ‘narco-politicial list’ might be used by the administration to persecute its opponents in the upcoming midterm elections, Presidential Chief Legal Counsel and Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo emphasized that this will help voters make more responsible choices during the elections in May.
“The DILG and the PDEA think it is their duty, in fact, constitutional duty to inform the voters on their investigation relative to the drug industry,” Panelo said in a Palace briefing.
“Under the Constitution, the right to information is enshrined. Tungkulin ng gobyerno din ‘yun (That’s the government’s duty). At the same time, we have also the presumption of innocence),” he added.
DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said his office will release the narco-list ahead of the start of the campaign period for the local polls.
Critics have hit both agencies for releasing a narco-list saying it is unfair because it disregards candidates’ presumption of innocence.
However, Panelo said it would also be unfair to voters not to let them know about the candidates they are voting for.
“From the point of view of the voters, it will also be unfair if you do not tell them exactly your investigation relative to those involved in the drug industry,” Panelo said.
“If they are elected and then suddenly their place is contaminated with drugs, they will blame the government,” he added.