MANILA - It is up to President Rodrigo Duterte if he would release a new list of politicians allegedly involved in the illegal drug trade ahead of the May elections, Malacañang said on Thursday.
In 2019, Duterte and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) came up with a list of so-called "narco-politicians," whom the former said should not get votes in the mid-term polls. The DILG pushed for the politicians' disqualification.
"On whether the Chief Executive would release a list of candidates involved in illegal drug trade, we cannot second guess the President in this regard," acting Palace spokesperson Martin Andanar said in a statement.
Duterte, he said, would "surely give support" to candidates he believed would continue his policies and reforms. The President has so far endorsed at least 17 senatorial candidates, while he remains "neutral" in the presidential race.
The Philippine National Police (PNP) had said of the 47 local politicians included in the narco-list, 37 sought local government posts while 27 won.
Duterte last year said an unnamed presidential contender is supposedly using cocaine, prompting several presidential aspirants to release drug test results. They denied using illegal drugs.
The President hoped that his successor would continue his controversial war on drugs.