By Ellson Quismorio
House members on Friday warned the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) regarding its planned release of a list containing the names of politicians allegedly linked to the illegal drug trade.
Akbayan Party-List Rep. Tom Villarin and AKO-Bicol Party-List Rep. Alfredo Garbin Jr. are of the opinion that doing so at this juncture would be a violation of the 1987 Constitution.
“I am warning DILG not to release the so-called narco-list as this is violative of due process and presumption of innocence guaranteed in our Constitution,” said Villarin, a member of the House opposition faction “Magnificent Seven.”
“[DILG] Secretary [Eduardo] Año will have to face administrative and possible criminal repercussions. I hope he reconsiders such move,” the Mindanao-based solon further said.
The agency has expressed plans to bare to the public its narco-list in the middle of the campaign season for the May 13 midterm elections. Malacañang has backed this proposal.
For Garbin, it’s “totally fine” to release the list for as long as the personalities who are in the Narco List are now facing criminal cases involving drugs
“But to publish the same on the basis of mere intelligence gathering sans pending cases against those included in the narco-list would be to violate the well-enshrined provision of due process in our Constitution,” said Garbin, who is a lawyer.
Garbin serves as Senior Deputy Minority Leader in the House of Representatives.
Plans of baring the controversial narco-list notwithstanding, the election season is expected to further heat up with the start of local candidates’ campaign period later this month.