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27 local execs into drugs face sanctions

More than two dozen local government executives may face possible sanctions, including suspension from office, following their suspected involvement in illegal drugs, Malacañang said yesterday.

Although the 27 local officials with suspected drug links have yet to be publicly identified by President Duterte, Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella said they expect the Department of the Interior and Local Government to take “appropriate response” against them.

For now, Abella said the local officials who have been linked to “drug trafficking” would be contacted and be given a chance to clear their names. They could even go to the President to respond to the charges if they want to, according to the Palace official.

“The process has began. In other words, they will be contacted, they will be addressed, and they should respond accordingly. We will just wait for them to respond,” Abella said.

No ultimatum, however, was given by the President on how soon these local executives must come forward and respond to the drug allegations. Abella said there was no timeline but “when you are addressed, it is expected you respond promptly.”

Abella said the DILG will decide if these erring local executives will be suspended.

“That’s part of the process,” Abella said. “If and when, the DILG will respond in kind. In other words, an appropriate response from DILG will be demanded,” Abella.

Abella, however, strongly denied that the local executives are being subjected to trial by publicity by the government.

“It’s not trial by publicity except that they are simply being called. Their attention is being called,” he said. “They are actually being given the chance to clear their names,” he added. (Genalyn D. Kabiling)