Press Release
May 2, 2018

Dispatch from Crame No. 296:
Sen. Leila M. de Lima's statement on PDEA's release of the "Barangay Narco-List"


The release of the so-called narco-list of barangay officials violates the right to due process. It is a witch hunt that puts those on the list at the mercy of PNP death squads.

Already, Ozamis City Police Chief Inspector Jovie Espenido has summoned barangay officials of the city whose names are on the list. This gives the officials little choice but to appear before him, at the risk of being the next targets of summary killings by PNP death squads. PNP officers using the narco-list to summon public officials is no different from the Gestapo's tactics under the Nazis or the Makapili scheme of the Japanese Kempeitai. They are arbitrary seizures of citizens that can result into death warrants.

What is absurd about the whole situation is that the narco-list was released by the PDEA admittedly because the agency had no sufficient proof against those in the list for purposes of filing criminal charges. The PDEA thinks that if there is no proof against them, it is better to publicly accuse them of committing a crime that the PDEA cannot prove. Such idiocy is what now permeates our law enforcement agencies.

For the PDEA, the Duterte strategy of public shaming and humiliation through baseless accusations is a valid option simply because the rights of those affected does not matter. No concern whatsoever is given that names are tarnished and lives are endangered in this reckless tagging of suspects even before charges are filed with the public prosecutor.

My colleagues - Senators Lacson, Honasan, and Gatchalian have already said as much on how the public release of the narco-list violates the rights to due process of the barangay officials on the list. They're absolutely correct.

I only hoped that they voiced such concern much earlier when the first narco-lists were floated, if not released, including at the time when a colleague of theirs was publicly shamed, humiliated, and verbally assaulted by no less than the President even before any charges were filed or alleged evidence against her presented (bogus as they are) before the DOJ or the Ombudsman.

I am of course talking about my case. I was the first victim of Duterte's drug war witch hunt using either so-called narco-lists or a fabricated (and crudely drawn) drug matrix that was disavowed even by the PNP, the NBI, and the PDEA.

Once Duterte and his officials made public shaming and humiliation and Makapili tactics the new normal in levelling accusations against Filipino citizens, the downward spiral to a regime that has no regard for either the Constitution or the bill of rights was almost inevitable. My colleagues' protests to the barangay narco-list is much appreciated but it is nevertheless just another case of too little, too late.

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