Duterte reveals list of 46 'narco politicians' ahead of midterm elections

Books Tuesday 19/March/2019 13:43 PM
By: Times News Service
Duterte reveals list of 46 'narco politicians' ahead of midterm elections

Muscat: President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines released a list of 46 'narco-politicians' ahead of midterm elections in his country.

Those included on the list are all local government officials allegedly linked to the illegal drug trade, Duterte claims.

“My decision to unmask these drug personalities was anchored on my trust in the government agencies who have vetted and validated the narco-list,” he said before naming the officials.

“An official’s right to privacy is not absolute and there is a compelling reason to prioritize the interest of the state and the people,” Duterte said.

“As your President, my ultimate concern is the pursuit of order in government and the welfare of the Filipino people. My administration assures you of our dedication to change the lives of Filipinos now, not tomorrow,” he added.

The President said the 46 alleged narco-politicians are only the names which have been validated and vetted by government agencies.

He said there are more names, but they require further validation. Duterte claimed that there were as many as 50 more politicians who are currently under validation.

On the remaining names, Duterte said, “I just want to be doubly sure.”

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) filed complaints before the Office of the Ombudsman against the 46 officials.

The list includes the Mayor Ferdinand Dancel Aguinaldo of Pasaquin, Pangasinan congressman Jesus Celeste, San Rafael Mayor Cipriano Dungao Violago Jr., Zambales congressman Jeffrey D. Khonghun, and Maguing Mayor Mamaulan Abinal Mulok among many others. Many of those listed are running for re-election.

Duterte denounced the public officials, accusing them of treason.

“This is actually treason," he said. "If you are in the government and you commit a crime, it could be likened in the olden times. It would be categorised as treason. You commit it against the people,” he explained.

A number of the accused have issued statements denying their involvement in the drug trade. Mayors Siegfredo Betita of Carles and Mariano Malones of Maasin were among the 46 names read out by Duterte

Betita said, "I don’t have any involvement with illegal drugs. In the past, there was an intelligence groups that monitored me but they saw nothing because I am not involved in illegal drugs."

“I will continue to serve my duty as mayor and I will always help with the programs of President against illegal drugs," he stated,

Malones, on the other hand, thanked Duterte for including his name so early.

"They will submit it to Malacañang and to the Ombudsman to file the case against us and if there is not enough evidence, the Ombudsman will dismiss (the case),” he added.

“I guarantee that I am not involved in the issue,” said Malones, who is running for the vice mayor seat.

According to the Philippine Information Agency, the elections will be held on 13 May 2019.

Adapted from Philippines News Agency