The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) in Bohol is just awaiting orders from its head office regarding the controversial release of the “narco list”— the list of politicians allegedly involved in illegal drugs—ahead of the May 2019 midterm polls.
According to DILG Bohol provincial director Jhonjoan Mende, they have no direct knowledge on how and when their central office led by Secretary Eduardo Año will release the infamous list.
“Wa pa ko kadawat og specific instructions regarding the narco list. Amo pa ng gipaabot pero wa ko kahibaw how the central office will reveal the list. As of now, there is no specific instruction kung unsa ang himuon,” said Mende.
Mende said that DILG Bohol has no involvement in the validation of the list, noting that the Philippine National Police is likely to have more knowledge on the process.
“Ang local DILG walay [involvement] in the process of validating. I think mas concerned ana ang atong uniformed counterpart,” he said.
Earlier, Año said that the watchlist was still being validated by the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs.
The DILG has noted through its spokesperson, Assistant Secretary Jonathan Malaya, that the list may be released this week. This, amid strong opposition from critics including senators.
Malacañang has presented the list as a guide for voters for the midterm polls, but critics have deemed it to be a possible avenue to malign candidates opposing the administration.
Meanwhile, journalist and media groups through a statement have warned practitioners of the profession to exercise caution in publishing contents of the so-called narco list and subject these to scrutiny.
The joint statement was signed by the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines, Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, Philippine Press Institute, Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility, Mindanews, Center for Community Journalism and Development, Freedom for Media and Freedom for All Network.
“We, journalists and media organizations, express grave concern about the likely breach of professional ethics and adverse legal implications of the publication and broadcast of the Duterte administration’s list of public officials allegedly involved in the illegal-drugs trade,” they said.
The groups noted that the list, bereft substantial proof, could be tantamount to “mere trial by publicity of political rivals,” denying due process to those named by the administration.
“This matter is more than just about a list, and its disclosure, more than just a story that the Duterte administration seems to want the news media to publish and broadcast with no thought to the journalistic values of fairness, accuracy, and independence,” the groups said.
“Instead of rushing to print or air, we now urge all our colleagues to exercise utter prudence and fastidious judgment in evaluating this ‘story’,” they added. (RT)