MANILA An election lawyer on Thursday said the inclusion on the government's watchlist of drug personalities is not enough to disqualify them from running in next year's mid-term elections.
"The Omnibus Election Code and the Local Government Code provide that only conviction by a final judgment, meaning final executory decision of the Supreme Court, convicting said candidates for any crime involving moral turpitude could be a ground for disqualification," lawyer Romulo Macalintal said.
Macalintal's statements were in reaction to the proposal of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) to prohibit those included on the drug watchlist from running for elective posts in the upcoming polls next year.
"The disqualification based on said list violates the constitutional right of a person to presumption of innocence and right to due process or opportunity to be heard in any case, be it criminal or administrative. As a matter of fact, there were several candidates who were in prison and yet they were allowed to run and serve while in person," he said.
Macalintal insisted it "will be a waste of time" for the DILG to ask the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to disqualify candidates in the 2019 polls based merely on a list of persons allegedly involved in illegal drugs .
"Comelec has many other urgent matters to attend to in preparation for the coming polls and should not be disturbed by such baseless request to disqualify candidates on the said list which, for sure, Comelec cannot be a ground for their disqualification," he added.
Since July 2016, around 300 local officials were either suspended or dismissed on corruption allegations.
The government's "narco list" identified at least 93 local officials holding posts in the Sangguniang Bayan and even vice gubernatorial positions. (PNA)
Source: Philippine News Agency