Government officials have contrasting opinions on whether or not a list of candidates involved in illegal drugs should be released ahead of the May 13 elections.
The Palace leads those who want this list, now containing 83 names, released. Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo says the Constitution guarantees Filipinos' right to information. Voters should know what kind of people they are electing to office.
Panelo says President Duterte will not oppose the release of the list because he in fact has done it before.
But Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency director general Aaron Aquino is not inclined to disclose the “narco-list” because it could only make things more chaotic.
Elections Commissioner Rowena Guanzon said releasing the list would be "unfair" as it is a form of negative campaigning.
Senator Aquilino Pimentel III said the Commission on Elections cannot prevent those on the list from running for office in May because "being on a list, even on a narco-list" is not recognized as a legal ground for disqualifying candidates.
And indeed the spokesman for the Comelec said candidates can still seek public office even if they are on the list, because only a final conviction can disqualify them from seeking a public post.
The matter could be decided by answering one question: How much can the list be actually trusted?
What guarantee do we have that the list contains every name that must be there, and that it does not contain names that must not be there?
Only until we are sure of the merits of the vetting process can we even begin to debate on whether or not it is prudent to make the list public.
Without this certainty, it would be wiser to hold off the naming and shaming, and simply let voters discern for themselves whether or not a person awash with unexplained cash, for instance, deserves the post he or she is seeking.