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Not for politics: DILG defends release of gov’t narco-list

President Rodrigo Duterte points to a piece of paper containing a list of personalities he alleges are involved in the drug trade in a speech in December 2016. Duterte released a new list of politicians allegedly involved in the drug trade on Thursday, two months before the midterm elections. Ezra Acayan, Reuters/File

 
MANILA – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) said Friday the release of the government’s list of politicians with alleged ties to the illegal drug trade was not politically motivated.

DILG spokesperson Jonathan Malaya said it would be unfair for politicians on the list to claim it as a political move.

“It would be unfair for them to ascribe bad intentions on our part because this was not done for politics,” he told ANC.

“We expect that those who are implicated here would rebut and refute the allegations in the proper venue,” he added.

President Rodrigo Duterte released the government’s “narco-list” on Thursday, two months before the May elections.

Duterte said administrative cases have been filed against these politicians before the Office of the Ombudsman.

Following the release of the list, several politicians–particularly reelectionist officials– have denied any involvement in the trade and alleged they were tagged because of politics.

Malaya explained that politicians included in the list were supposedly confirmed by authorities to be either drug protectors or financiers of the illegal drug trade.

Aside from administrative cases against the officials, Malaya said criminal charges would also be filed against them.

“The decision was to file administrative cases first and the criminal cases would follow,” he said.