MANILA- President Rodrigo Duterte’s “validated” list of alleged drug personalities contains more than 5,000 names of government officials, Presidential Chief Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo said Sunday.
Duterte announced Saturday during the San Beda College Law alumni homecoming that he may submit his final narco list to the National Security Council (NSC) and the legislative branch before the end of the month.
"And I will give each of them a copy, and then the Senate President and the Speaker of the House, then let us formulate how to prevent disaster for the next generation," Duterte said.
In an interview with ANC, Panelo said he saw the folders of the list, which he estimates to be more than one foot-high and contains around 5,000 to 10,000 names of government officials from barangay officials and mayors to governors, members of the judiciary and prosecutors.
He said the huge number of narco-politicians poses a threat to public safety.
“There are about 10,000 people, government officials involved. That means that the magnitude and depth of the drug menace is so much, so huge, that public safety is now in danger.”
Asked on the possible next step of the President after submitting the list, Panelo said he heard the President is considering the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus.
Panelo also responded to critics saying the President can only suspend the writ on two grounds — rebellion and invasion — and argued that similar circumstances may also be considered in declaring a suspension.
Earlier this month, Duterte said he may be forced to suspend the writ if lawlessness in Mindanao continues.
The President, under the 1987 constitution, may suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus only in cases of invasion or rebellion and when public safety requires it.
“Some are arguing that there is no invasion and neither is there rebellion but he (Duterte) is saying that drug money is being used to fund the rebellion in Mindanao therefore there is a rebellion,” Panelo explained, noting that critics are looking at the constitution “literally.”
Panelo argued that suspending the writ is done to prevent the effects of invasion or rebellion and therefore any circumstance similar to such can be considered in its suspension.
“You cannot limit the President on two grounds of invasion and rebellion. Any circumstance similar or akin to those grounds, I think the President and I think the Supreme Court will do so,” he said.