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The ‘narco list’ as election weapon

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The ‘narco list’ as election weapon

IN disclosing his latest “narco list,” President Rodrigo Duterte insisted that this was not related to the upcoming elections. “I’m not really interested in releasing it before or after the elections because I do not have the slightest intention to hurt anybody or to be a cause of the failure of an election of a certain man who wants to serve the public,” Duterte said.

The Department of the Interior and Local Government, which drew up the list based on its intelligence reports, defended Duterte’s move. “It would be unfair for them to ascribe bad intentions on our part because this was not done for politics,” DILG spokesman Jonathan Malaya told ANC last week, referring to critics of the “narco list.”

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But the DILG itself has said publicly that these lists are meant to disqualify politicians from running for public office, saying last year — after it bared more names in its “narco list” — that it would ask the Commission on Elections to do exactly that.

In April, weeks before the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections, the government released the names of more than 200 barangay officials.

The government insists that these lists are meant to raise the public’s awareness about their politicians. There is no denying, however, the impact these lists have on the conduct of elections.

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One Laguna mayor, Bruno Ramos of Bay town, has said he would not seek reelection because of the list, even though he has not been charged in court for any drug offense. Critics have accused the government of “weaponizing” the “drug war” and these lists to influence the election. (Laguna Now)

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