Why drug-linked politicos won

MALACAÑANG yesterday attributed to the “dynamics” of local races the victory of several politicians in Luzon and Visayas tagged by President Rodrigo Duterte in the illegal drug trade.

Duterte released the list of 46 politicians on March 14, nearly two months ahead of May 13 midterm elections, but some of them managed to win reelection or get new posts.

Representative Vicente Veloso of Leyte’s Third District secured another three-year term while Subic Mayor Jefferson “Jay” Khonghun won over reelectionist Zambales Vice Governor Angel Magsaysay-Cheng. Others opted not to run including former police official and now Daanbantayan, Cebu Mayor Vicente Loot.

“Iyong dynamics ng local iba. Sila ang nakakaalam doon sa mga kandidato nila,” presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said at a news conference.

Panelo said voters tend to value what the politician has done for their welfare.

“Pag tinanong mo iyong mga botante, oh nasa drug list iyon, bakit ninyo binoto? Aba eh nasa drug list pero grabe naman ang tulong sa amin dito. You get the point?” he said.

“Kumbaga pragmatic iyong mga botante, tumutulong sa kanila, pag iyong mga anak daw nila may sakit dinadala sa ospital, medisina ganyan. So kahit naman nasa drug list, binoboto pa rin nila – iba ang dynamics eh, more on necessity.”

Asked if the President’s public warning was effective, Panelo said: “Sa iba effective, sa iba kahit na naniniwala sila kay Presidente, dahil mas kailangan nila iyong tulong nung inihalal nila, eh binoto pa rin nila.”

Duterte had earlier said the disclosure of the names of politicians with drug links was in line with national security and national interest.

“There can never be a valid argument to deny the public, the people of the Philippines at large to know the officials who should not be there in their office. In this particular case now, those who are involved in the deadly game of drug trafficking,” he said in a speech at a security meeting in Davao City on March 14.

Several politicians named in the narco-list had denied the allegations.