The Commission on Elections (COMELEC) oppose the plan of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) to publicize the names of suspected narco-politicians ahead of the 2019 mid-term elections.
COMELEC Commissioner Rowena Guanzon believes that it will be better for the DILG to file charges against candidates in the narco – list rather than release the list.
According to Guanzon, the narco-list does not have ‘probative value’ and releasing it will only show ‘prejudice’ against the candidate allegedly involved in illegal drug operations.
The COMELEC chief added that a candidate, even if he/she wins during the elections, will face perpetual disqualification from holding office if convicted by final judgment by the court.
Guanzon also said that the DILG can file a petition of disqualification against candidates in the narco-list at the COMELEC.
“Kaya file niyo na sila ng kaso at file niyo na sila ng petisyon sa disqualification sa COMELEC. Iyon ang dapat na ginagawa ayon sa ating tinatawag na due process of law,” Guanzon said during DZRH’s Damdaming Bayan.
Guanzon stressed that releasing the narco-list will not earn a response from the COMELEC. She said that the poll body will only disqualify candidates if they are convicted for a crime, or were found to be foreigners.
She further explained that it will be unfair for the candidate to be tagged and considered as a druglord even though he/she has yet to be charged and tried in court.
“Kahit mag-release kayo diyan ng 1 milyon listahan, hindi namin ididisqualify iyan kung wala kayong final judgement diyan o kaya hindi iyan mga banyaga,” Guanzon said.
“Kahit naka-upo pa iyan, nanalo pa sila, kung na-convict sila by final judgement, we can remove them from the office. Kaya sige na DILG, file niyo na iyan. Sayang ang oras,” Guanzon added.
DILG Sec. Eduardo Año on Saturday, March 2, promised to release the narco-list before the campaign period for local candidates starts on March 30.