Former Senate leader and PDP-Laban president Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III on Friday urged the Department of Justice (DoJ) to begin filing cases against those included in the government’s “narco list” that President Rodrigo Duterte revealed Thursday night.
Pimentel said the cases should be filed regardless if the 46 politicians in the list mentioned by Duterte and vetted by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and other law enforcement agencies are running for office.
“If you committed a crime, you should be charged immediately, regardless of whether you are running in the midterm elections or not. Running for office does not grant you immunity,” said Pimentel.
He said that as the party of the President, PDP-Laban is “fully supportive of the government’s war on illegal drugs.”
“There is no need to debate about the need to stamp out illegal drugs and to jail those who are involved in their proliferation. There are lives at stake here,” added Pimentel.
Pimentel said that he, together with other PDP-Laban officials, would go over the list to see if there were candidates who were members of the party.
“In the interest of fairness and due process, we’ll send formal notice to any member included in the list. He or she can opt to defend himself or herself against the allegations, or choose to voluntarily resign,” said Pimentel.
“We will then evaluate that member’s membership after considering everything that is presented before us, possibly including outside independent evidence if such is available,” he added.
“We will respect our members’ rights to due process, but if a PDP-Laban member needs to be sanctioned or removed, so be it,” according to Pimentel.