RELEASING the names of politicians allegedly involved in the illegal drug trade ahead of the May elections would help the electorate have an "intelligence choice" with regard to their preferred candidates, Malacañang said on Wednesday, February 20.
In a press conference, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the Palace was in favor of the Philippine National Police's (PNP) move to reveal the names of the so-called "narco-politicians" before the midterm polls.
He said the PNP's plan to release the roster of politicians linked to illegal drugs has the support of President Rodrigo Duterte.
"There's a need to provide people with information para magkaroon sila ng (so they will have) intelligent choice," the Palace official told Palace reporters.
"Eh di ba si Presidente na noon naglabas na rin noon. So it goes without saying kung si Presidente mismo ang naglabas... Eh sinabi ko na nga, kung siya mismo nag-release nun, bakit naman siya kokontra ngayon? Ang ayaw niya yung magre-release ka ng wala namang basis," he added.
(The President previously released the government's drug watch list. So it goes without saying if the President had already done that... As I said, if he already released that, why will he oppose? What he does not want is you'll release it without basis.)
On Tuesday, February 19, the PNP announced that it would "very soon" release the names of politicians verified to be involved in narcotics trade.
There are around 83 politicians included in the government's so-called "narco-list," the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency said earlier.
Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año has been pushing for the release of narco-list to guide the public on who to vote for in this year's midterm elections.
Panelo was confident the narco-list that would be made public has undergone thorough evaluation and validation.
"The assumption is yes," he said, when quizzed if there is an assurance that those included in the government's drug watch list are verified to be involved in illegal drugs.
"Basta kailangan ang basis mo sufficient para, kasi ikaw magrerelease nyan ikaw rin ang babalikan eh (It's necessary that you have sufficient basis because you'll be the one to release that. And they'll get back to you if the narco-list is erroneous)," Panelo added. (SunStar Philippines)