By Chito Chavez
On orders of President Duterte, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) late Thursday filed complaints before the Office of the Ombudsman against 46 narco-politicians earlier named by the President.
DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año said the initial list of “narco pols” facing charges before the Ombudsman were provided by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA).
The initial list released to the public by the President included 35 mayors, seven vice-mayors, one provincial board member and three Congressmen.
Año said the 46 “narco pols” are facing administrative charges of grave misconduct, conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service, conduct unbecoming of a public officer, and gross neglect of duty.
He noted the accused with illegal drug links were evaluated and meticulously validated by the Interagency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD) chaired by PDEA in coordination with the Philippine National Police (PNP), Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA), DILG among others.
Created by virtue of Executive Order No. 15 is composed of several government agencies assigned to oversee and systematically collate government data in the administration’s undying bid to fight the proliferation of illegal drugs in the country.
“The DILG’s involvement in the ICAD is impelled by its statutory role as general supervisor of local government units (LGUs) and their officials to ensure that they are performing their duties and functions under the law,” said Año.
Way back August 2016, Duterte has already announced a long list of names of personalities who were allegedly involved in the illegal drug trade.
These included magistrates, local executives and retired and active police officers.
With the President’s announcement, the ICAD, in coordination with PDEA, PNP, AFP, NICA and other agencies, conducted and performed further validation on the personalities included in the list and those who, while initially excluded, were found to be potential violators, coddlers, and active participants and stakeholders in the illegal drug trade.
“While the vetting and validations were separately done by the agencies, the process was coordinated and synchronized under the leadership of PDEA to ensure that all bases are covered and that no lapses will be made in the process,” said DILG Undersecretary and spokesman Jonathan Malaya.
Malaya added the filing of charges is a testament the ICAD chaired by PDEA is confident with the accuracy of the list.
“With the filing of cases with the Ombudsman, those in the initial narcolist that was released by the President will now have an opportunity to refute or rebut the allegations against them,” he added.
Based on regional location, there is one each in Ilocos Region, Cagayan Valley, MIMAROPA, and CARAGA Region; two each from Central Visayas and Zamboanga Peninsula; three each from Central Luzon and SOCCSKSARGEN; four in Northern Mindanao; and five in Western Visayas.
Meanwhile, Calabarzon and Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) each have 10 local officials in the narco list.