Comelec officer says presenting of narco list candidates, an 'unfair and negative campaign' - BALITANG PINOY

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Sunday, March 3, 2019

Comelec officer says presenting of narco list candidates, an 'unfair and negative campaign'

Manila---The Commission on Elections (COMELEC) officer on Sunday said that it would be an unfair and negative campaign to present the names of politicians running on May elections, who were belonged to the narco list and having alleged involvement in the illegal drug trade.

Negative campaigning yang ginagawa nila kapag nilagay nila sa listahan yan. ‘Huwag niyong iboto 'to ng mga taong kasi mga drug pusher ito.’ E di negative campaigning iyan. Unfair naman 'yun,” Comelec commissioner Rowena Guanzon said in an interview on Super Radyo dzBB.

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The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año earlier said the list of supposed narco-politicians will be released before the start of the campaign period for local candidates.

“In due time we will release it. The start of local election campaign will be on March 30, before that period we will make public the list,” Año said.

“We do not want those innocent to get involved in this. It would be unfair to them,” Año added.

Año said the validation of the narco list is still ongoing wherein this week he is set to meet with Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) director general Aaron Aquino and Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) chairman Catalino Cuy to lay down the details of the release before the May midterm polls.

Guanzon, on the other hand, suggests to the DILG and PDEA to file cases beforehand against the politicians who are clearly involved in drug trade prior to the releasing of the list.

She further said the Comelec has the authority to disqualify a candidate who is validated to being involved of such crimes.

“Kung ilabas niyo sana 'yan, dapat kinasuhan niyo.Pwedeng ilagay niyo, ‘Ito may mga kaso na laban sa mga taong ito for violating Dangerous Drugs Act. Pwede,” she said.

Guanzon said it may be considered libel by listing politicians’ names who have not yet proven to be involved in the illegal drug activities.

Under the Revised Penal Code, libel is committed when there is public and malicious imputation of a crime, or of a vice or defect, real or imaginary, or any act, omission, condition, status, or circumstance tending to cause the dishonor, discredit, or contempt of a natural or juridical person, or to blacken the memory of one who is dead.

"You can do that maybe after the elections," Guanzon further said.

However, Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez earlier clarified that negative campaigning that promotes the negative side of a candidate is allowed under the law.

“Under the law, campaign propaganda is defined as anything that promotes the victory or defeat of a candidate,” Jimenez said.

“So by that standard, ‘yung kandidato na iyon, his defeat or her defeat can be promoted. It is a campaign propaganda which is negative and that’s allowed, so there’s no violation,” Jimenez added.

Last month, President Rodrigo  Duterte said he is open to the proposed release of the narco list in order to guide voters in choosing their right local bets.

PDEA said they are prepared to heed the instruction of the President on the narcolist, the same with the DILG that they will put on the President's hand the instruction about its release.

The latest data of the PDEA showed there are still 83 narco-politicians in the list as it is only the President who can approve the pending delisting of six individual candidates.

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