MANILA Some 289 barangay (village) officials are in the narco-list of President Rodrigo Duterte, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) said Wednesday.
PDEA Director General Aaron Aquino revealed that those included in the list are 143 barangay chairmen and 146 barangay kagawads.
Out of this number, 41 were arrested, five died in legitimate police operations, 27 were victims of homicide which is now under investigation, three recorded natural deaths, five used other names or aliases and one was murdered due to political rivalry.
To date, 207 barangay officials are active in the illegal drug trade based on PDEA-National Drug Information System (PDEA- NDIS) record.
Aquino said that pursuant to Executive Order No. 15, PDEA, as chair of the Interagency Committee on Anti- Illegal Drugs (ICAD), has the verified precise data on the barangay officials linked to illegal drug activities. This information was obtained from the report of Barangay Anti-Drug Abuse Council (BADACs) nationwide.
Aquino believes that the number is expected to increase once the validated list of barangay officials involved in illegal drug trade is submitted.
The Department of the Interior and Local Government and its attached agencies commits its full support to PDEA in providing information on drug personalities for verification and immediate action to finalize the list of politicians involved in the illegal drug trade.
Aquino earlier urged the public not to vote for candidates who are involved in illegal drugs in this year's Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections.
Reject those barangay candidates who are involved in illegal drug activities. They do not deserve the people's votes, Aquino said in a statement.
The PDEA chief said that it is very likely that drug money may seep into the electoral process of barangay elections due to the influence of drug syndicates.
Obviously, they (drug syndicates) will only support local candidates who will give them protection in return, the PDEA chief noted.
Incumbent barangay officials, or prospective bets who are linked to drugs, may continue to lord it over the polls. We do not want that to happen. Our destiny lies in our own hands. We are appealing to the public to wisely choose our next community leaders, he added.
PDEA is reiterating its call to barangay officials to activate their respective Barangay Anti- Drug Abuse Councils, and be cooperative and pro-active in the anti-illegal drug campaign.
PDEA is urging barangays to activate their respective BADACs, and be cooperative and pro-active in the anti-illegal drug campaign, he added.
Aquino said that in the absence of a functioning BADAC, there is a high probability that these barangays have officials who are involved in the illegal drug trade, or their barangays are havens of illegal drug activities
PDEA reiterates its call for these non-compliant barangays not only activate but also strengthen their BADACs. The battle against illegal drugs at the community and street levels definitely starts in barangays. BADACs are important in maintaining a pro-active stand in shielding the people from the drug menace, the PDEA chief added.
An oversight body on the barangay drug-clearing program was created to ensure the regularity and the accuracy of the program.
It is composed of local representatives from the PDEA, DILG, the Philippine National Police, Department of Health, and LGUs.
There are defined roles and responsibilities set for each member of the Oversight Committee on Barangay Drug-Clearing Program, as well as the parameters prior the declaration of a Drug-Cleared Barangay, pursuant to the Dangerous Drugs Board, Regulation No.3, Series of 2017, on Strengthening the Implementation of Barangay Drug Clearing Program.
The sustainability and unified effort of the agencies concerned will lead to the realization of our goal for Drug-Free Philippines by 2022, Aquino said.
Under Comelec Resolution No. 10246, the synchronized barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections will be on May 14.
The filing of certificates of candidacy is from April 14 to 20 while the campaign period is from May 4 to May 12.
Source: Philippine News Agency