Government authorities should prosecute the lawyers, prosecutors and judges linked to illegal drugs, instead of shaming them by revealing who they are, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines said on Friday.
“We encourage our law enforcement operatives to prosecute and spare no one, not even lawyers, prosecutors or judges, who are into drug possession and use, as this continues to be an offense penalized under the Anti-Drug Act,” IBP national president Abdiel Dan Elijah S. Fajardo said in a statement.
The country’s mandatory lawyers’ organization made the call after the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency Director General Aaron Aquino revealed there are lawyers, prosecutors, and judges in the agency’s drug watchlist.
“The malefactors may also be held administratively liable for misconduct, and must be proceeded against before the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, the Department of Justice, or the Supreme Court, as the case may be,” the IBP president stressed.
Fajardo said the IBP is strongly objecting to public disclosures of the drugs list “that publicly shame prosecutors who dismiss drug complaints for insufficiency of evidence, and judges who acquit drug suspects on constitutional grounds.”
“Government agents are not licensed to perverse or relax constitutional standards on buy-bust and search and seizure operations and a defeat in the legal arena on such basis must not be interpreted as drug coddling or protection,” he pointed out.
Last week, President Rodrigo Duterte named 46 alleged narco-politicians which included 35 mayors, seven vice mayors, one provincial board member, and three lawmakers.
The Department of the Interior and Local Government has already filed administrative complaints against these alleged narco-politicians before the Office of the Ombudsman.
Aquino recently said the PDEA’s drug watchlist also included judges, prosecutors and even celebrities and members of the media.
Nonetheless, Aquino assured the public that the PDEA cannot release yet the names in the watch list as it has to go through some extreme, stringent, and careful scrutiny, reevaluation, and validation.