Suspend narco-politicians, urges Sotto

Senate President Vicente Sotto III. (DMN image)

Senate President Vicente Sotto III yesterday called on the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) to intensify the campaign against politicians involved in the illegal drug trade by suspending those with validated links to the menace.

Sotto, who previously served as head of the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB), said that instead of publicly releasing the list of “narco-politicians,” the DILG should consider other approaches like suspending incumbent officials verified to be involved in the drug trade.

“I would rather think that they should do a different approach, maybe intensify the campaign on the ground,” said Sotto in an interview at the sidelines of the unveiling of the “Gallery of Legacy” as part of the Senate’s 102nd anniversary.

“If you know who are involved (in illegal drugs) in one area, let the people know and then the DILG should be able to play a pivotal role. The DILG should act on that – those who are involved and are facing charges, suspend them,” he added.

By informing the public of those who are facing cases in connection to illegal drugs, Sotto said the DILG is sending the right signal to the voters.

“I think that is what they (DILG) want – for the voters to be aware of who are involved in the illegal drugs,” said Sotto.

Earlier, the DILG called on the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to disqualify or stop the candidacies of those included in the “narco-list.”

DILG Assistant Secretary Jonathan Malaya said they will forward the latest record to the Comelec, hoping the election body will disqualify the personalities in said narco-list who are gunning for elective positions during next year’s mid-term polls.

Sotto, however, warned of possible abuse in the DILG move – citing the possibility that the list could be used in a smear campaign.

“There are other ways to do it, not just…publishing or announcing the names. The list might be polluted or if it is not validated, some may fall as collaterals,” explained Sotto.