MANILA, Philippines – Party list Representative Harry Roque quizzed government officials during different hearings at the House of Representatives this week about President Rodrigo Duterte’s infamous list of politicians, police, and members of the judiciary with alleged ties to the illegal drug trade.
Roque, a lawyer, asked the Philippine National Police (PNP) on Thursday, September 1, who “gave the information on the basis of which the President revealed names in his naming and shaming campaign as individuals affiliated with the illicit trade in drugs.”
The neophyte legislator asked officials of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) the same question during different hearings this week.
PNP chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa, among the more prominent officials in Duterte’s “war on drugs,” admitted that not all of the names on the list came from the police.
“Honestly, Your Honor, hindi po lahat ‘yon nanggagaling sa amin. May ibang source si Presidente. Ang inaamin ko lang po na nanggagaling talaga sa amin ay ‘yong mga pulis po namin na involved sa drug trade, ‘yong mga pinaglilipat na namin sa ibang regions,” he said.
(Honestly, your honor, not all of the names there came from us. The President has different sources. What did come from us was the list of police involved in the drug trade, the ones who we moved to different regions.)
Roque expressed concern. “Your answers scare me. Because I really thought that when the names were read, they were really based on evidence given by competent agencies and here I am being told basically the answer is ‘no.’ And I’m scared because my name could be there, who knows,” he told PDEA and NBI officials.
Not PDEA, not NBI
PDEA chief Isidro Lapeña, during a briefing for legislators, said they did not submit a list of personalities linked to drugs and said his agency was the “recipient of information relating to drugs.”
The NBI likewise said there “has been no such request for us and we have not submitted any subject personalities, politicians or otherwise.”
Earlier this month, Duterte read on air the names of public officials with alleged ties to the drug trade. While admitting that there could be some errors on the list, Duterte ordered the officials to report to either the interior department, the Supreme Court, or to Dela Rosa himself.
Several local chief executives and police personnel trooped to Camp Crame the day after to clear their names.
Dela Rosa had earlier told reporters that the President sourced information from various intelligence agencies to come up with the list. He said then that several government agencies including PDEA, the PNP, and the Armed Forces of the Philippines conducted a “workshop” to form and validate the list.
“The list wasn’t formed from hearsay, with people just telling the President that so and so is a political rival or so and so didn’t support him. The President is not shallow,” said Dela Rosa on August 9.
A check by various media outfits including Rappler, however, revealed several errors on the list. Some persons on the list, for instance, had been long dead.
But Dela Rosa and other officials have downplayed these mistakes, insisting that people should instead focus on the “good” that the list would do in their campaign against illegal drugs.
While police have been busy cracking down on anti-illegal drugs law enforcement, Duterte himself has taken the lead in “exposing” public officials with supposed ties to the illicit industry. Most recently, Duterte blasted Senator Leila de Lima and accused her of coddling drug lords.
The same agencies also denied giving Duterte information on De Lima. The President had earlier made public a “matrix” that supposedly showed De Lima and her cohorts’ links and dealings with illegal drugs. As justice secretary, De Lima was responsible for the New Bilibid Prison, where many convicts are known to still head drug operations – even from jail.
Among the personalities on the list was former Pangasinan governor and current district representative Amado Espino, who has since met with Duterte himself to ask that the matrix be investigated.
Dela Rosa had earlier ordered the Police Regional Office 1 to investigate the matrix as presented by Duterte. Most of the personalities in the list hail from Pangasinan, which is under the jurisdiction of the regional police office. – Rappler.com
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