64 politicians on narco-list seeking re-election: PDEA

PDEA Director General Aaron Aquino / photo from Philstar

The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) has revealed on Tuesday that 64 out of 82 politicians on the “narco-list” are seeking for re-election in this year's mid-term elections.

“I think it's 64 (local officials). They filed their COCs (Certificate of Candidacy) and the remaining 18 decided not to file,” PDEA Director General Aaron Aquino told reporters after the signing of a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC).

Aquino, however, clarified that authorities have yet to finish the revalidation of the list of politicians who are allegedly involved in illegal drugs.

“As of now, there is an instruction for PDEA to disclose the list, but I can’t do it right now because we haven’t finished our revalidation of all the narco politicians. Actually, they are now down to 82. Last time, I said it’s 83 but one of the mayors was arrested, Mayor Franco Salasal of Datu Salibo of Maguindanao,” he said.

The PDEA official also noted that the number may go up once they are done with the validation process as there are more politicians in the national drug information system.

He said some on the list are drug lords while others are protectors of illegal drug trade in their respective areas.

Aquino, on the other hand, stressed that he is not in favor of releasing the “narco-list” as it would be unfair for those on the list and may promote negative campaigning, especially, if released prior to revalidation.

“First and foremost, we still remain on my stand. I don’t want the list to be revealed or to be disclosed. That has been my statement from the beginning. Even before the filing of the COCs, that is already my stand,” he explained.

Aquino, however, said that he will still follow the order of President Rodrigo Duterte.

"If it will be ordered by the President that this list will be revealed, I should abide by that. I think the authority to disclose the list was not given to PDEA but instead to the SILG (Secretary of the Interior and Local Government Eduardo Año)," he said.

Source: PNA

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