Guevarra admits ‘narco-politicians’ still free to travel abroad

Published March 20, 2019, 4:12 PM

by AJ Siytangco

By Jeffrey Damicog

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra admitted Wednesday (March 20) that at the moment nothing can prevent the alleged “narco-politicians” named by President Rodrigo Duterte from leaving the country

Senior Deputy Executive Secretary Menardo Guevarra announces during a press briefing in Malacañang that the matter concerning the closure of the resorts in Boracay is currently one of the top priorities that are being discussed by the cabinet citing that it would not only concern the environmental aspect of the issue but the economic impact as well. (TOTO LOZANO/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra

“We can’t apply for PHDOs pag wala pang criminal complaints filed (We can’t apply for a preventive hold departure order since there are no complaints filed),” he pointed out.

“The best that we can do is to issue immigration lookout bulletin orders (ILBOs), which are merely for foreign travel monitoring purposes only,” he added.

A person can only be prevented from leaving the country through a hold departure order (HDO) issued by a court only if charges have been filed.

If no charges have been filed yet before a court, prosecutors can request a court to issue a PHDO only if a criminal complaint has been filed and is undergoing a preliminary investigation.

The initial list released to the public by the President included 35 mayors, seven vice-mayors, one provincial board member and three lawmakers.

The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) has already filed administrative complaints before the Office of the Ombudsman against those in the narco-list.

However, the Department of Justice (DOJ) continues to wait for copies of the complaints and intelligence reports before conducting its own investigation along with the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).

Recently, the Bureau of Immigration (BI) confirmed that one of the local officials included in President Rodrigo Duterte’s narco-list has been allowed to leave the country Tuesday evening.

The BI said Sinacaban, Misamis Oriental Mayor Crisinciano Enot Mahilac left for Singapore Tuesday evening with his family.