Lacson: Release of narco list 'dumb and cruel'

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Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Public order and Dangerous Drugs, tells alleged drug kingpin Kerwin Espinosa that anything he says outside of the Senate inquiry into slain Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa's death will not be covered by legislative immunity, Wednesday, November 23, 2016. Espinosa earlier requested for legislative immunity from the Senate before testifying on the death of his father, who died on November 5.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 3) — "Dumb and cruel," that's how Senator Ping Lacson described the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA)'s release of the administration's so-called narco list.

The former police chief explains this is because the list of barangay officials allegedly involved in the drug list was not validated.

"It's dumb and cruel," Lacson said during a press conference. "Dumb because ang intelligence report ginagamit ito para tumulong sa law enforcement na mag-gather ng ebidensya."

[Translation: Dumb because intelligence reports are used to help law enforcement gather evidence.]

By publicizing the list, the Senator said that PDEA might have jeopardized potential cases by forewarning barangay officials who might indeed be involved in illegal drug trade. These officials can now destroy evidence that can be used against them before an investigation can be conducted.

READ: PDEA still gathering evidence on 200 'validated' drug-linked barangay officials

"[It's] cruel kasi hindi mo pwede sabihing validated ang isang intelligence report," said Lacson.

[Translation: It's cruel because you can't say that the intelligence report was validated.]

He explained that an intelligence report can only be considered validated once a case supported with sufficient evidence has been filed before the Department of Justice or a prosecutor. Then it becomes the job of law enforcement officials to convert the intel report to a case once supporting evidence has been found.

"It's wrong to assume or even say na validated yung intel report," Lacson said. "Pwedeng sabihin na confirmed by other sources pero hindi pwedeng sabihin na validated. Sabihin validated pero yun pala patay na, that negates kanilang claim na validated intel report."

[Translation: It's wrong to assume or even say that the intel report was validated. You can say that it was confirmed by other sources but that doesn't mean that it's validated. If you say it's validated and then it comes out that one of the people has died already, that negates their claim that it's a validated intel report.]

Those who were named in the list may even file libel charges against those who released the narco list for destroying their reputation, he warned.

READ: Barangay chair on PDEA narco list denies involvement in illegal drugs

Despite their inclusion in the 'narco list', people may still vote for these barangay officials.

"Maski nalagay sa listahan at naisangkot na, naihayag sa publiko, kung palagay ng nasa barangay na nasama lang sa listahan for political purpose, iboboto pa rin nila yun dahil pananaw nila, mas kilala pa rin nila kandidato at sa kanilang judgment, di talaga totoo yung nilabas ng PDEA," he said.

[Translation: Even if a politician has been put on the list, and it's been publicized, if the barangay believes that they're there because of a political position, then they'll still vote for them. In their opinion, they know their candidate better and based on their judgment, what PDEA said isn't true.]