While the government respects the will of the electorate, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) will still pursue the administrative cases filed against the so-called narco politicians who won in the recently concluded May 13 midterm polls.
“Kahit na pinalad silang manalo, tuloy pa rin ang administrative cases laban sa kanila. Hindi pa rin sila makakalusot kung sila ay mapapatunayang sangkot talaga sa iligal na droga,” says DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año.
Año says that while some narco pols emerged victorious in the polls, it is already “a win” for the government and the nation that some of them lost and were rejected by the electorate.
“The purpose of President Duterte in releasing the names was to inform the public of the local officials who are linked to the drug trade. The fact that some of them lost is already a substantial victory for us because if we didn’t release the names, more, if not all, could have won the election,” he says.
Last March, the DILG filed administrative charges of grave misconduct, conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service, conduct unbecoming of a public officer, and gross neglect of duty before the Office of the Ombudsman against 46 narco-politicians named by Pres. Rodrigo R. Duterte.
Of these, 37 ran for public office during the last election and 26 of them earned a fresh mandate from their constituents despite the release of the said list two months prior to the midterm polls.
The list of winning narco pols include 2 congressmen, 1 vice-governor, 18 mayors, 3 vice-mayors, 1 councilor and 1 board member from Calabarzon, BARMM, Eastern Visayas, Ilocos Region, Northern Mindanao, Western Visayas, Central Luzon, Zamboanga Peninsula, SOCCKSARGEN, and Caraga.
According to Año, it will be the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) who will pursue the criminal cases as they have the evidences necessary for case build up.
He says the Department is in close coordination with the Philippine National Police (PNP), PDEA, and other national government agencies tasked in the illegal drugs war for the continued pursuit of all cases against the winning narco-politicians.
Use of drug money
Considering the rampant vote buying incidents during the last elections, Año says there is a possibility that drug money was used during the election campaign.
“It’s not impossible that drug money was used in the campaign so that could have been a factor in their victory considering the prevalence of vote buying in the last election,” he says.
He adds that the DILG is also in close coordination with NAPOLCOM for the removal of police deputation powers of the winning narco politicians ahead of their official assumption to office on June 30.