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The list

Dr. Ramon Ricardo A. Roque, CESOI, Diplomate

The so-called “narco list” of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) is again the subject of interest in public discussions as the inclusion of Tanauan City Mayor Antonio Halili in the list is seen as one of the probable factors that led to his assassination.

The murder of Mayor Halili makes those in PDEA’s narco list fear for their lives. From the point of view of individuals and groups who believe that there are extra-judicial or state-sponsored killings in the country, being included in the narco list is like a death sentence.

The same is true from the point of view of those who believe that drug-related killings are perpetrated by the illegal drug syndicates to silence those who can turn against them.

The government, particularly the PDEA, should once and for all explain to the public the nature of their so-called narco list.

If the PDEA and other concerned government agencies have evidence against those in the list, why don’t they file appropriate charges in court?

Time and again, we hear the standard response from PDEA that the information that backed up the listing of a person in the narco list still needs to be “validated.”

Why come up with a list based on unvalidated information and call it narco list. As things currently stand, being included in the list is like being convicted of drug-related crimes already.

There were cases when those included in the list have to go through the difficult of process of proving their non-involvement in illegal drugs. Such are cases of proving innocence instead of the PDEA proving the guilt of those they include in its narco list.

Even if one manages to have his or her name expunged from PDEA’s narco list, there was already irreparable damage on that person’s reputation.

The Duterte administration’s war against illegal drugs will gain more public support if the PDEA can come up with a real narco list – one that has been validated and is supported by evidence.

The war on illegal drugs needs to be fought in courts. Instead of coming up with the so-called narco list, the PDEA, together with the Department of Justice, should charge all concerned in courts.

As things currently stand, PDEA’s narco list is not really helping the Duterte administration’s war against illegal drugs. Whenever somebody on the said list is killed, the government becomes the No. 1 suspect.

How can the government gain more support from the public when it is suspected of killing those included in an unvalidated narco list?

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