Final conviction needed to disqualify candidates on ‘narco list’: Comelec spokesman

Christian V. Esguerra, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 04 2019 04:58 PM

MANILA—Releasing a list of candidates allegedly involved in the narcotics trade will not automatically disqualify them in the May 13 midterm elections, a Commission on Elections (Comelec) spokesman said on Monday.

“We maintain na until there is a final conviction, there should be a presumption of innocence and therefore, hindi sya disqualifying,” Director James Jimenez told reporters.

Jimenez acknowledged that the list might be useful for law enforcement agencies, but said it would not affect the status of electoral candidacies.

Interior department spokesman Jonathan Malaya earlier said the “narco list” made public in time for the barangay or village elections in 2018 showed mixed results on the candidacies of so-called narco-politicians.

Some lost while others won, he said, despite repeated warnings for voters to reject those believed to be involved in illegal drugs.

A similar document the government was planning make available to voters in relation to the midterm elections has again raised concerns that it would violate the right to due process of those on the list.

Authorities were instead told to file charges against alleged narco-politicians.