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No charges yet vs ‘narco-politicos’

The Philippine National Police (PNP) has admitted that almost all of the local executives linked by President Duterte to the illegal drug trade have yet to be charged.

Police sources said the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) has yet to complete and consolidate judicial affidavits from mayors and vice mayors named by the President.

The latest to submit his affidavit was Talitay, Maguindanao Vice Mayor Abdulwahab Sabal who was later arrested in connection with the Davao City blast.

Sources said investigators are having difficult time gathering evidence that would pin down the so-called drug protectors.

“We conducted custodial investigation and there are really levels of involvement. Unlike in a drug raid where there would be immediate violation, those in the higher ups do not really have in possession the illegal drugs,” said PNP spokesman Senior Supt. Dionardo Carlos.

What the drug protectors have, according to Carlos, are proceeds of the drug sale or the protection racket they have been receiving from drug operators.

Subjecting the suspects to lifestyle checks is also not easy, according to Carlos.

“It will take time to produce paper trail that could point to these persons receiving money from illegal drugs,” said Carlos. “This also means that we are not doing any shortcuts in the legal proceedings on this matter,” he added.

While the policemen on the alleged drug list have been disarmed, relieved and placed on camp custody, the case is different for the local officials linked to the drugs. (AARON B. RECUENCO)