By Jeffrey Damicog
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra has guaranteed fairness in the conduct of the probe against politicians included in the list of President Rodrigo Duterte as allegedly being involved in the illegal drug trade.
Guevarra made this assurance as he vowed to have the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) look into the alleged narco-politicians.
The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) have already filed administrative complaints against those in the list before the Office of the Ombudsman.
“On the other hand, the DOJ will investigate the criminal aspect once the proper complaints or intelligence reports are submitted to us,” Guevarra said.
“In compliance with the requirements of due process, we shall likewise give these persons named in the narco-list ample opportunity to disprove the allegations against them,” he assured.
With many in the list running in this year’s May polls, Guevarra said he hopes that the investigations will be finished before the elections.
“Kung dumating yung reports/complaints early enough (When the reports/complaints arrive), we’ll try to finish any criminal investigation before the elections,” he said.
Guevarra said they will give their best effort in finishing the investigations early considering there are many persons on the list.
The initial list released to the public by the President included 35 mayors, seven vice-mayors, one provincial board member and three congressmen.
They are facing administrative charges before the Ombudsman for grave misconduct, conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service, conduct unbecoming of a public officer, and gross neglect of duty.
DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said the list was 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.