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Nothing wrong with exposing drug pushers in barangay with Duterte list

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Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque on Thursday said President Rodrigo Duterte fully backed the order of Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Undersecretary Martin Diño for barangay officials to submit a list of suspected drug pushers and criminals in their respective areas.

Roque made this reaction amid concerns that the list would be used by the barangay officials to blacklist political rivals in illegal drugs.

“Absolutely nothing wrong for as long as it would entail an investigation to verify information,” Roque said during a Palace press briefing.

Diño, a newly-designated DILG undersecretary, has clarified in a television interview Thursday morning that the list would go through strict verification process.

Roque said it was not enough that the communities in the country’s more than 42,000 barangays have knowledge about the drug suspects.

“It always begins with an investigation. People should know by way of general reputation who are involved in drugs. I think community knows but it’s not enough for anything. You have to investigate on the basis of these leads,” he explained.

Roque, a lawyer by profession, said the DILG is just doing its job since it has jurisdiction over local government, including barangays all over the country.

He said Diño could also look into the previous statement of President Rodrigo Duterte that at least 40 percent of barangay executives are involved in illegal drugs.

“Perhaps that’s another lead that Usec. Diño should pursue, the already existing data bank that we have,” Roque said.

More than one million drug users and pushers have already surrendered since Duterte administration started its massive anti-drug campaign in the middle of 2016. (PNA)