By Genalyn Kabiling and Chito Chavez
President Duterte is now reluctant to release the list of barangay officials with alleged involvement in the illegal drug trade.
“Not yet. It is not time,” the President said during a press conference in Davao City when asked about his order to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) to release the list of drug-linked barangay officials.
The President mentioned that he was focused on efforts to help Filipino workers in Kuwait who want to come home. “I have to get back all of those who want to come back,” he added, after returning to the country from his three-day visit to Singapore.
Earlier, PDEA Director-General Aaron N. Aquino said the agency would go ahead with announcing today (April 30) the names of barangay officials in the narco-list.
The President’s narco-list includes barangay officials with supposed links to the illegal drug trade either as pushers, users or protectors.
Aquino is supposed to lead officials from the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) in a joint press conference dubbed as “PDEA and DILG to reveal the Narcolist.”
Aquino said Malacañang had given him the thumbs up to announce the names of the barangay officials in public.
The validated names include 89 barangay chairmen and 122 barangay kagawad or village council members.
He said the list originally contains 216 names but five barangay captains were taken off the list as they will be subject to further validation.
“I am assuring everyone that this is a validated list. This list came from Malacañang and came from all intelligence units from the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the NICA (National Intelligence Coordinating Agency), the Philippine National Police and the PDEA. This is a validated list,” Aquino said.
“As of this time, adjudication process is ongoing. The adjudication process finished which will be brought to the Malacañang for the approval of the President. We are trying to build up the case and file the necessary charges,” he added.
But as of press time yesterday afternoon, Duterte himself said it was not yet time to reveal the barangay-level narco-list.