Palace: No stopping release of ‘narco-list’

MANILA – There is no stopping the release later this week of the list of politicians allegedly involved in illegal drugs, Malacañang said yesterday.

Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) will make it public.

“Hindi na siguro (mapipigilan). Nagbigay na (si President Rodrigo Duterte) ng instruction na i-release,” said Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo in a press conference. “Secretary (Eduardo) Año will be making the announcement.”

The reason for the release is national security, he added.

Individual rights could not prevail over national security and interest, stressed Panelo.

Año said the other day that the release of the list before the May 13 midterm elections would make it a guide to voters.

Commission on Elections (Comelec) chairperson Sheriff Abas earlier said the poll body could not stop the DILG as well as the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency from releasing the list but politicians listed won’t be disqualified from running for elective posts.

The Palace also denied that foreign governments were providing the Philippines with wiretapped information used as basis to create the list of politicians allegedly linked to the illegal drug trade.

“I will say that as far as I know, walang nagpo-provide sa atin ng impormasyon,” said Panelo. “I was not also making a statement na iyong narco-list is based on that.”

Panelo clarified that he used the wrong word when he said Tuesday last week that foreign governments “provided” wiretaps, noting that he merely made an “educated guess” by assuming so.

“Yeah, educated guess – on what is happening in the world today. Countries whose survival depends on measures that they will undertake to preserve their territory or sovereignty will have to use that,” Panelo said.

He, however, said any information coming from foreign governments can be used as “lead” that could be further verified.

“I used the wrong word, what I really mean is, if any information is thrown to our lap, without us asking it in the course of anything, whether it’s coming from whomsoever, we can use that information as a lead – lead lang (just a lead),” Panelo said.

The basis of narco-list expected to be released included information from drug surrenderers, arrested suspects, and surveillance from local law enforcement authorities, he stressed./PN


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