SENATE President Aquilino Pimentel 3rd has urged the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) to release the list of barangay (village) officials allegedly involved in drugs, but would still want to seek reelection on May 14, so that they would be able to “clear” their names.
Pimentel made the remark when asked about the conflicting views of acting DILG Secretary Eduardo Ano and incoming Philippine National Police Chief Oscar Albayalde on the need to publicize the list of alleged “narco-politicians” in the barangay level.
The Senate chief said “the list should be released so that those on the list will have the chance to ‘clear’ their names if they are interested in doing that. ”
“It is actually ‘fairer’ to all concerned that the list be once and for all known rather than kept a secret and then used by ‘enterprising’ people for some extortion activities,” Pimentel said in a text message.
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) will hold the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (youth council) elections on May 14.
Ano on Monday said the government must release the drug list to give people the “knowledge or basis on who to vote for.” He will discuss the matter with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA).
But Albayalde was averse to such a move for fear that the list may be politicized and used by candidates to destroy the image of their rivals. He said the concerned barangay officials “should be given due process.”
“Because of political rivalry or envy, the list could include names—even those of the guiltless. What’s important is a true and honest adjudication,” Albayalde said.
Pressed to comment on the same issue, Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto 3rd said, “I can live with both ideas. Both are acceptable to me. I’ll follow the President’s stand. He is the one blessed with authority. What did he say?”
Sen. Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara said that “if ever it is released it should state that the findings are preliminary and not conclusive, especially if no cases have been filed yet.”
“Even better if it states the source of the information, unless these are confidential or classified intelligence sources,” Angara said. BERNADETTE E. TAMAYO