The Department of Justice will investigate the alleged involvement of several prosecutors in the illegal drug trade, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said Sunday.
Guevarra said he is planning to personally lead the fact-finding investigation against 10 prosecutors included in the so-called narco list of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency.
“Once identified and there’s A scintilla of evidence, I myself will lead the investigation against them. That [involvement of prosecutors in illegal drug trade] is just unacceptable,” Guevarra said.
The DOJ said the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to involvement of government officials in illegal drugs-—especially in his department, which is tasked to prosecute drug suspects.
Guevarra said his office would coordinate with PDEA Director General Aaron Aquino for the conduct of a parallel investigation by the National Bureau of Investigation, the fact-finding and law enforcement arm of the DOJ.
“PDEA and DOJ can do parallel investigations if PDEA is willing to share its initial intelligence information with us at this time,” he said.
The PDEA admitted last week that its narco-list includes 10 prosecutors and 13 judges, but did not release their names pending verification and further validation of their alleged involvement in the illegal drug trade.
Aquino aired frustration that their efforts are wasted with the dismissal of cases they have filed.
However, he said that the judges and prosecutors on the list are not yet a priority as they are focusing their validation efforts on the case build-up against the 46 politicians named by President Duterte.
The PDEA chief said the list of judges, prosecutors and other drug suspects—including 31 celebrities—would still undergo validation, which he said would take time.
Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, meanwhile, said government officials and celebrities on the list should have been charged before their names were released.
Over the weekend, the Dangerous Drugs Board chief Catalino Cuy said the board would undertake a scientific study with the Philippine Statistics Autority to determine the real nature and extent of the country’s drug problem.
Cuy said such a study could address calls for evidence-based indicators of the success of the anti-drug campaign.
The study will entail the conduct of a census, instead of a survey, to be able to provide a real picture of the drug situation, he said.
Reports from all law enforcement agencies and intelligence information will also be included and integrated in the data analysis, he added.
“There were previous studies with similar intentions but the results did not include data from law enforcement agencies. This time, we will make sure that these will be included and integrated in analyzing data and coming up with statistical figures,” he said.
A survey is usually perception-based, he said.
“What we want is an actual census to provide the real picture of the drug situation in the country.”
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