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Arroyo: House may exercise oversight function to probe authenticity of drug matrix

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POLITIKO - The bible of Philippine Politics

By JOHN CARLO M. CAHINHINAN

The House of Representatives may exercise oversight function to probe the authenticity of the ‘narco-list’ which was released by Malacañang on Thursday.

Former President and now Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo said one of the three solons named in the supposed drug matrix told her that he might file a resolution seeking to conduct probe in aid of legislation over the legitimacy of the list.

But Mrs. Arroyo told the said legislator which she refused to identify that the lower house may exercise its oversight functions and summon top officials of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) to explain their basis for why the names of those congressmen and other elected officials were included in the third narco-list.

“I said he may have a hearing not in aid of legsilation but in exercise of the oversight on the dangerous drugs, so of course it is his right to ask for a hearing in Congress as well,” said Mrs. Arroyo.

“There’s a due process they will have to under go,” the former president added.

Among the lawmkers included in third batch of drug matrix include Leyte Rep. Vicente Veloso, Zambales Rep. Jeffrey Khonghun, and Pangasinan Rep. Jesus Celeste.

Veloso, a member of the ruling administration party, Partido Demokratiko Pilipino – Lakas ng Bayan (PDP Laban) already denied such accusations, adding that local politics is the main reason for his inclusion in the narco-list.

The former associate justice of the appellate court is seeking reelection in this year’s mid-term polls and will be battling former Leyte Rep. Andres Salvacion.

Meanwhile in a posted video in social networking platform Facebook, Khonghun’s son, Mayor Jay Khonghun denied the alleged involvement of father in the illegal-drug trade.

Celeste for his part vowed to face the ‘baseless’ accusations against him.

“The allegation against me has been circulating for several years already and is hurting my family,” said Celeste.

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