Andanar defends disclosure of ‘drug list’

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY--Secretary Martin Andanar has defended the President’s disclosure of the names of the list of drug personalities in the country that include judges, politicians, policemen and military personnel.

Martin Andanar
Andanar, who heads the Presidential Communications Office (PCO), told the local media here Tuesday that President Rodrigo Duterte did not err in disclosing the names in a televised speech.

“The drug list and names of the personalities involved underwent a thorough and a very rigorous process,” Andanar said.

The list that President Duterte read in a televised speech over the weekend contained the names of judges, politicians and police officers who are or have been reported to be either drug lords or protectors of drug traders, several of whom were already dead or have retired from government service.

Andanar said before the national police and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) submitted the list to the President, the agencies properly and thoroughly verified it to ensure that what the Chief Executive would receive was “top notch” information.

“The PNP and PDEA have their own vetting process in writing down or including personalities in the drug watch list,” Andanar told reporters during a meet-and-greet with the local media here.

“It’s not easy to be included in the list [of] drug watch personalities, in the same way that it is hard for a person to be taken out of that list,” he explained.

In removing a person from the drug watch list due to death, for instance, he said, the family of that person has to go to PDEA or PNP and present that person’s death certificate as proof.

Andanar said the reason some of those are still in the list even though they are already dead or no longer in public service is that the family did not bother to go to the law enforcement agencies to have their names taken out.

President Duterte’s disclosure of the names on the list by using the executive power of immunity was a “masterstroke,” which led the drug personalities to come out in the open and submit themselves for investigation in order to clear their names, Andanar said.

He said that no other Philippine President in the history of the country has done anything to stop the widespread proliferation of illegal drugs than President Duterte.

According to Andanar, the Filipino people have to provide the necessary support to the President in the fight against illegal drugs in order to save the more than three million people who are threatened by the illegal drug trade.

Andanar said that the list has long been in existence, even during the past administrations and only now has it been revealed to the media because the anti-drug campaign is one of President Duterte’s priority programs. (by Jigger J. Jerusalem, PNA)