There is “enough evidence” against 46 politicians allegedly involved in the illegal drug trade, according to President Rodrigo Duterte.
Duterte made public his “validated” narco list during the National Peace and Order Council meeting held in Davao City Thursday night, March 14.
Thirty-five of the alleged narco politicians were mayors, including Siegfredo Betita of Carles, Mariano Malones of Maasin, and Jed Patrick Mabilog of Iloilo City.
Betita is running for reelection while Malones is seeking the vice mayoral seat in the May 2019 midterm elections.
Mabilog, on the other hand, was dismissed from service by the Office of the Ombudsman in 2017 over unexplained wealth. His whereabouts remained unknown.
Duterte did not mention Calinog Mayor Alex Centena whom he tagged as a drug protector in 2016.
Other politicians in Western Visayas named by Duterte as alleged drug protectors were Culasi, Antique Mayor Ariel Tabugo Alagos Jr. (reelectionist), and Hamtic, Antique Mayor Julius Ronald Leyritana Pacificador (running for vice mayor).
The President said authorities found “probable cause” against the 46 politicians.
“Our job is to reach that standard of probable cause. For the judges, it is proof beyond reasonable doubt. For the police and the Armed Forces, you only have to come up with probable cause. Is he probably the criminal of this act? Then, if he is, I must arrest him. Remember the word probable does not require you to be very sure,” Duterte explained.
The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) had already filed administrative charges of grave misconduct, conduct prejudicial to the best interest, conduct unbecoming of a public officer and gross neglect of duty against the politicians on the narco list.
DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said criminal charges will also be filed against the 46.
According to him, the involvement of the politicians in illegal drugs was evaluated and validated by the Interagency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD) chaired by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) in coordination with the Philippine National Police (PNP), Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), National Intelligence Coordinating Agency, and other offices.IMT