MALACAÑANG is keeping its hands off a United States State Department report on the possibility of narco-politics influencing the outcome of the May elections.

Instead, deputy presidential spokesman Ricardo Saludo said the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) will have full authority to act on the contents of the report.

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“We will not issue any directive. The agencies involved must act accordingly,” Saludo said in a radio interview.

He said that aside from PDEA, the local government units of areas named in the US State Department report will have to verify drug-related activities and take appropriate actions.

Saludo also said the Palace will leave it to PDEA to name politicians and other personalities who the State Department report claims are involved in the drug trade.

But he said the PDEA may not come out with the names so easily because it may still be verifying some of the personalities in the report, and may be slapped with libel charges if it discloses the names.

“If PDEA will name names, it must make sure it has the evidence to back it up. Or in some cases, the PDEA cannot name names because it is still in the investigating stage,” Saludo said. (JMR/Sunnex)