THE Department of the Interior and Local Governments (DILG) is investigating at least 50 narco-politicians, an official said Thursday.
Undersecretary John Castriciones, head of Task Force Agila which was assigned to investigate local officials suspected to have drug links, said the local executives are mostly from the Visayas and Mindanao. These officials include mayors, governors, and councilors.
However, no local executive from Metro Manila was in the drug list of President Rodrigo Duterte.
“We are already in the process of building up cases against more or less 50 local government officials. Our teams are on their toes since the Task Force’s inception. Our movements are below radar and discreet, considering the sensitive nature of the job. We do our job without prejudice to the safety and security of the members of our investigating teams,” Castriciones said.
The official said the task force is carefully validating the names in the list. He added that some local officials in the drug list have reported to the DILG but majority opted to remain mum.
Castriciones said majority of the local officials being investigated were allied with the Aquino administration.
The official vowed to pursue the investigation despite the danger they face since many of the narco-politicians have direct links to drug syndicates and coddlers of illegal drug groups.
“And for the next batch of names, we stand ready and waiting,” Castriciones said.
The official said the TFA is only investigating local government executives over whom the DILG has supervisory powers.
However, the TFA may toss to the National Police Commission or the Philippine National Police-Internal Affairs Service cases of police officers who may be complicit with local officials.
“The task at hand is not something to be taken lightly. I would like to stress that the DILG or any of us has no say as to how anyone’s name got included in the drug list but knowing the president, there is no reason to doubt the veracity of his information. To those who are being investigated and who will be investigated by the Task Force, we say: trabaho lang. Wala pong personalan,” Castriciones explained.
He said TFA teams are gathering evidence against what they call “Persons of Interest” or from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.