Albayalde admits re-election of barangay bets casts doubt on PDEA drug list

MANILA, Philippines – Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Oscar Albayalde admitted on Thursday, May 17, that the re-election of some barangay officials linked to drugs by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) brings the drug list into question.  

It’s probably, unang-una p'wedeng hindi sila naniniwala, [o] pwedeng hindi totoo ang allegations sa kanila," Albayalde said in a news conference in Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City. (It's probably, first, the voters don't believe the list, or maybe the allegations against these officials are not true.)

Hindi naman natin p'wedeng pagbawalan sila diyan [bumoto], or probably in all hoesty, alam nila walang kinalaman 'yung tao na 'yan [sa droga],” the PNP chief added. (We really cannot stop them from voting for these officials, or probably, in all honesty, they know that these officials have no links with illegal drugs.)

This is why the PDEA drug list still needs further verification, Albayalde said. (READ: PDEA admits cases vs officials in drug list 'not airtight')

“So really, as we said, these allegations will have to be validated and this will have to be adjudicated," Albayalde said in a mix of English and Filipino.

This is a softer stance taken by the top cop, as he earlier said that winning the polls wouldn't clear their names in the drug list.

To recall, the list was published by the PDEA with the hopes of discouraging people from re-electing barangay officials who are accused of having links with the drug trade. 

Advocates condemned the release of the list for violating the rights of the suspects, against whom no formal complaints had been filed. So far, the PDEA has filed a complaint against only one person on the list. –

Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers the House of Representatives and local governments for Rappler. Prior to this, he covered security and crime. He was named Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. In 2021, he was selected as a journalism fellow by the Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics.