Duterte narco list aims to ‘control’ May elections, say Otso Diretso bets

Mara Cepeda

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Duterte narco list aims to ‘control’ May elections, say Otso Diretso bets


President Duterte is committing ‘abuse of power and discretion which tramples on the rights of every individual to due process,’ says senatorial candidate Gary Alejano

MANILA, Philippines – Opposition senatorial candidates in the Otso Diretso ticket slammed President Rodrigo Duterte’s latest narco list, saying it is being used to “control” the outcome of the May 13 elections. 

Magdalo Representative Gary Alejano said on Friday, March 15, that the release of the list is “abuse of power and discretion which tramples on the rights of every individual to due process.” (READ: Chel Diokno to Duterte: Stop weaponizing lists

“The public-shaming that the government is resorting to is aimed to intimidate and control the local politicians in the coming elections. This is also a mere show of bravado to make the people believe that the war on drugs is working. It is not,” said the former mutineer-turned-congressman.

Another Otso Diretso candidate, former solicitor general Florin Hilbay, shared Alejano’s sentiments, alleging the Duterte administration is using the list to ensure their allies would win in May.

“Malinaw naman na ang gusto ng gobyerno ay makontrol ang mga LGUs (local government units) sa papalapit na eleksiyon, upang maipanalo ang mga manok nila na may mga kaso ng pangungurakot, pagnanakaw, at pagsisinungaling sa bayan,” said Hilbay.

(It’s clear the government wants to control the LGUs for the upcoming elections, so their bets who have cases involving corruption, theft, and lying to the public would still win.)

On Thursday evening, March 14, Duterte released another edition of his administration’s narco list, containing names of local politicians allegedly involved in illegal drugs. 

The list includes one former and 45 incumbent officials, comprising of 33 mayors, 8 vice mayors, 3 congressmen, one board member, and one former mayor. Of the 46 politicians in the list, 8 belong to Duterte’s political party Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan.

Rappler will not publish their names to protect their right to due process and privacy. So far, they have only been accused of “grave misconduct” before the Office of the Ombudsman, but no criminal complaints have been filed against them over their supposed drug links. (READ: Journalists urged not to aid trial by publicity over narco list

On Friday, Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, an ally of the President, told reporters in Quezon City she will not ask for a meeting with the 3 congressmen in the narco list. 

“No, no. Because there’s a due process that they will have to go through,” said Arroyo. 

Arroyo said one of the congressmen, whom she did not name, already asked her if he could file a resolution calling for a House investigation, in aid of legislation, to investigate his inclusion in the narco list.  

“I said he may have a hearing not in aid of legislation, but in exercise of the oversight on the dangerous drugs law. Of course, it is his right to ask for a hearing in Congress as well,” said Arroyo. – Rappler.com

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Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda specializes in stories about politics and local governance. She covers the Office of the Vice President, the Senate, and the Philippine opposition. She is a 2021 fellow of the Asia Journalism Fellowship and the Reham al-Farra Memorial Journalism Fellowship of the UN. Got tips? Email her at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or tweet @maracepeda.