Duterte: Release of narco-list ahead of polls up to interior chief

Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 20 2019 08:46 PM

President Rodrigo Duterte delivers his speech during the 9th anniversary of the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) and the 25th anniversary of the Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) at the SMX Convention Center in Davao City, February 19, 2019. Rene Lumawag, Presidential Photo

MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday said he was leaving it up to Interior Secretary Eduardo Año whether or not to release the list of politicians with alleged links to the illegal drug trade.

Duterte said while he agrees with the release of the so-called “narco-list,” “it’s up to Año to decide on that," he told reporters in a chance interview in Malacañang. 

"I do not interfere in his job," said the President, who has publicly spoken against politicians and police officers involved in illegal drugs. 

The Philippine National Police earlier said there should be enough evidence against politicians allegedly involved in the drug trade for their names to be released ahead of the May 2019 elections.

"In the past we have heard lots of stories about politicians using drug money to fund their campaign, but we have to base our statements on evidence, on hard facts. Our gathering of information is ongoing and there has to be credible witnesses, evidence," Senior Supt. Bernard Banac, PNP spokesperson, told ANC's Early Edition.

He added authorities would release the narco-list "very soon." 

"As far as the PNP is concerned, we will continue to enforce the law. Whether you’re a politician or not, if you get into illegal drugs, then we’ll go after you and arrest you and put you in jail," he said.

The Department of the Interior and Local Government has said it wants candidates in drug lists to be disqualified from the midterm elections this May.

In October last year, Año said there were at least 93 local officials included in the drug list of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency. Of these, 58 were mayors.