MANILA - The Department of the Interior and Local Government on Friday said it will forward to the Commission on Elections its list of suspected “narco-politicians” in the hopes of disqualifying them from the upcoming midterm elections.
DILG Assistant Secretary Jonathan Malaya said the DILG does not know what course of action the Comelec could take against the suspected narco-politicians but the department hopes that they would be disqualified.
“We are going to forward to Commission on Elections all of those lists for their proper disposition. It’s up to the Comelec how they will handle that concern,” Malaya said in a Palace press briefing.
“[DILG officer-in-charge Eduardo] Año mentioned that we would want them to be disqualified, but there are legal impediments as mentioned by some election lawyers.”
During the last barangay elections, the government released the names of barangay officials with suspected links to the illegal drug trade.
Malaya said the DILG has not yet received clearance from the Office of the President to do the same for the upcoming midterm polls in May 2019.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, a lawyer, earlier said a suspected narco-politician may only be disqualified from running in the polls if he is “convicted with finality and that the accessory penalty for disqualification from public office has been decreed by the court.”
President Rodrigo Duterte, meanwhile, told reporters on Friday midnight that he is not inclined to release the names, saying it is “not a good policy… to telegraph your intention or what you know about the other fellow, especially in matters of breaking penal laws.”