In a congressional hearing on Tuesday, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) admitted that they were not involved in preparing the list of politicians allegedly linked to the illegal drug trade, as revealed by President Rodrigo Duterte.
GMA News Online reported that Kabayan Rep. Harry Roque asked PDEA Director General Isidro Lapeña if his agency or the NBI had any hand in putting together Duterte’s “narco list” of politicians.
“Did the PDEA, NBI, or PNP have inputs in the shaming and naming practice of the President, specifically as to such personalities as Leila de Lima? Did you actually give evidence to the President that became the basis for his statement that Senator Leila de Lima is involved in the drug trade as far as Muntinlupa is concerned?” he asked, to which Lapeña replied in the negative, “No, your honor.”
NBI lawyer Henry Canapi also said the bureau was not involved in preparing the president’s narco list.
“As far as the NBI is concerned, your honor, there has been no such request for us and we have not submitted any subject personalities, politicians or otherwise,” Canapi said.
When pressed on whether Duterte consulted with PDEA before revealing the names of the politicians allegedly protecting drug dealers, he said, “PDEA is (a) recipient of information on matters relating to drugs, your honor. And this came from different intelligence communities, different intelligence agencies, which are validated… it comes from the regional level.”
Asked whether PDEA also checks the names on Duterte’s list, Lapeña said that they do submit reports on the list. However, he added that he was uncertain on whether Duterte is also consulting other agencies on the alleged narco politicians.
Roque said he felt alarmed over Lapeña and Canapi’s responses and promised to raise the matter during the deliberations over the proposed 2017 budget of the Office of the President.
“You know, your answers scare me because I really thought that when the names were read, they were really based on evidence given by competent agencies and here I am being told basically the answer is ‘no’,” the representative said.
He added that the list could have easily included his name and wondered how the President came by the list.
“Maybe when we discuss the budget of the Office of the President we can already discuss this because I’m really wondering where we are basing the list of drug coddlers that are being popularized and mentioned by the President,” he added.
Roque said that de Lima should deal with the allegations linking her to drugs, but added that it is also important for the Filipinos to know how Duterte’s source of information when it comes to his list of narco politicians.
Duterte revealed his list of 5 police generals allegedly protecting drug lords on July 5 and his list of retired and sitting government officials, but he was called out for conducting a trial by publicity. His second narco list included judges, and policemen was revealed on August 7, although this list had several errors in it, as it included people who died several years ago and who could no longer defend themselves. Duterte’s most recent revelation was a drug matrix that tagged his fiercest opposition, de Lima, and several other government officials.
With the PDEA and NBI’s responses denying involvement in preparing these lists, we can all ask: Who are Duterte’s sources? How credible are these lists?
Sources: (gmanetwork.com, cnnphilippines.com, news.abs-cbn.com)