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PNP regional directors get narcolist

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Interior Secretary Ismael Sueño has given the “go signal” for the release of President Rodrigo Duterte’s “drug watch list” to regional directors of the Philippine National Police.

“The controversial list containing the names of the local government executives, officials and civilians alike, who are involved in illegal drugs will be handed over to the PNP Regional Directors who are also Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC) vice chairs. This is to avoid any conflict of interest and malice as RPOC chairs are also local government executives,” Sueño said in a statement.

Sueño met with RPOC leaders on Friday during which he encouraged the participants, composed of local government heads and PNP regional directors, to keep their firm resolve in the fight against illegal drugs and confirmed that the list be furnished to the regional directors to be disseminated to local chief executives upon request.

Sueño said the turnover of copies of the list was in response to what President Duterte pledged to the governors and mayors whom he met in two separate meetings in the past weeks.

“In the meeting with local executives, President Duterte committed that they will be furnished their own copy so that they may have a clear view of what possible course of action they may undertake,” he said.

Sueño also clarified that local officials requesting for a copy of the list from the PNP regional directors should only be given the names of people in their area of jurisdiction.

“If a mayor requests for a copy of the list, he would only obtain the names of alleged illegal drug personalities within his town or city. He will not be granted full access to the names of people outside his authority to maintain the confidentiality of the list,” he said.

He said the move to give the list initially only to PNP regional directors was to ensure that if there would be leaks, the Department of the Interior and Local Government would immediately ascertain the source as it is only limited among the ranks of regional directors and would only be given to local execs upon formal request.

Mr. Duterte often brandishes the list during his speaking engagements, sometimes even slamming them on the podium or dropping them on the floor to drive his point that the country has become a “narco-state” due to the thousands of local officials involved in the drug trade or as protectors of drug syndicates.

Sueño said the list should only be considered as a ‘watch list’ due to the ongoing investigation and continuing intelligence work to verify the names and information contained in it.

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