A couple of senators cried foul over the proposal of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) to the Commission on Elections to disqualify from the 2019 midterm elections candidates that are listed in the drug list of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA).
Senators Francis Escudero, Koko Pimentel and Kiko Pangilinan agreed that a candidate can only be disqualified by Comelec if there is already a conviction based on the court’s final judgment.
Escudero reminded DILG that the drug list which was not made public was just validated by PDEA and the persons that are included in it were not given the chance to clear their names.
“While the DILG, I believe means well in order to limit narco politicians, those in the list were never afforded the right to due process and question their inclusion, hence, cannot be used against them by the DILG’s mere say so,” Escudero argued.
The senator then said that DILG should first file a case in the court against those politicians included in the list, order a preventive suspension, ask for a warrant of arrest and put them in jail to limit their chances to win in the elections.
Pangilinan meantime told DILG not to abuse their power in preventing those listed in running for a seat in the government. He stressed that all Filipinos have an inherent right to file their candidacy based on the laws of the land.
“Kung may isyu laban sa kanila, iprisinta sa publiko para ang publiko mismo ang magpapasya kung sino ang dapat maupo at di dapat maupo,” Pangilinan said.
Pimentel who is allied with the administration also said that disqualification is a heavy penalty and it cannot be found in any law.
But the three senators assured the public that they are reviewing the backgrounds of their members to be sure that no one is included in the list of narco-politicians.