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Narco-pols far from being cleared

At least 25 local officials on the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency’s drug list who won in the elections could no longer invoke the doctrine of condonation should they be charged by the PDEA for drug-related offenses.

The local officials won although their names were made known by President Rodrigo Duterte and anti-illegal drugs authorities.

The doctrine of condonation had been used by hundreds of elective officials who were charged in court but who won elections while their cases were a pending resolution.

Thus, the politicians on the narco-list can no longer invoke the doctrine of condonation to have charges that may be filed against them dropped.

The election victory of 25 of the 46 politicians implicated in the drug trade must not stop the government from pursuing their immediate ouster if evidence warrants, Rep. Robert Ace Barbers of Surigao del Norte said.

READ: Duterte lists 50 more narco-pols

Barbers, chairman of the House Committee on Dangerous Drugs, made the statement as he urged law enforcement agencies to file charges against all of those in the list.

Barbers' call was supported by Reps. Bernadette Herrera Dy of Bagong Henerasyon, Alfredo Benitez of Negros Occidental, Winston Castelo of Quezon City and Ruffy Biazon of Muntinlupa.

“If the government is serious about it, then it’s best to file charges in court. That way the accused will be given a fair chance to defend himself or herself,” added Rep. Jocelyn Limkaichong of Negros Oriental.

Those on the so-called narco-list who won include Oroquieta City Mayor Jason Paredes Almonte and Zambales Rep. Jeffrey Khonghun and his son, Subic Mayor Jefferson Khonghun—among those linked by Duterte to illegal narcotics.

“The government should file charges already especially if the evidence at hand is overwhelming. If proven guilty, then they should suffer the punishment due them,” said Barbers, whose reelection victory saved his team from being “wiped out” in Surigao del Norte.

Herrera-Dy, on the other hand, said winning narco-list politicians should be stopped from “retaining their position and from using their position of power” if they are indeed involved in illegal drug trade.

Benitez and Biazon said sufficient evidence was basic in filing charges in court, adding that if the government had this in their hands, then cases should be filed soonest.

Castelo said the PDEA and the Philippine National Police were under obligation to file criminal complaints.

“The DILG [Department of the Interior and Local Government] also must level charges against these people and file administrative cases as basis for suspension if evidence warrants,” said Castelo, chairman of the House Committee on Metro Manila Development.

READ: ‘Duterte has power over narco-list’

Topics: Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency , drug list , Rodrigo Duterte , Robert Ace Barbers
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