MANILA MalacaAang on Monday clarified there was no order from President Rodrigo R. Duterte to stop the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) from releasing the names of barangay (village) officials linked to illegal drug activities.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said Duterte was referring to the overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Kuwait he answered Not yet. It is not time if the President has specific instruction on PDEA's plan to release its narco list.
I think there was confusion on the context on what the President has said. Remember, it was late in the morning. So if you look at the transcript, he was referring to the return of the OFWs. I think that's the context when he said not yet, we are still waiting, Roque said.
Duterte arrived from Singapore ASEAN Leaders' Summit early Sunday morning and held a press conference after his arrival speech at the Davao International Airport.
But PDEA upon his instruction, released as scheduled today at 9:30 a.m. without getting any message from the President or from SAP (Special Assistant to the President Bong Go), Roque said.
When asked if the President has violated any law for ordering the release of 207 barangay officials linked to illegal drugs, Roque answered: I'm not aware of any that was violated.
Roque, an international law expert, said the information being released by the PDEA would help guide the voters to choose wisely in the upcoming May 14 barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (youth council) polls.
So I have here a quite number of names most of the barangay captains who are in fact in the list of those allegedly involved in the illegal drug activity, Roque said.
He, however, refused to show the names to the Palace reporters.
According to the PDEA, out of the 207 barangay officials in the list, 90 are barangay chairmen while 117 are barangay kagawads (councilors) with most of them from Bicol region.
The PDEA said the narco list has been validated by four law enforcement agencies led by PDEA.
Aside from 207, PDEA Director Aaron Aquino said they also validating the alleged involvement of 274 more village officials in the illegal trade.
Source: Philippine News Agency