Narcotics List Must be Confidential – Lacson

MANILA – Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson on Wednesday said that the ‘narco-list’ released by President Rodrigo Duterte composed of barangay captains, mayors, governors, law enforcement officers, and judges is ill-advised.

Lacson said this in response to the President’s public apology made by Pres. Duterte to Pangasinan Rep. Amado Espino Jr. and two other local government officials earlier linked to the illicit drug trade inside the New Bilibid Prison (NBP).

During an inspection of the alleged shabu laboratory in Arayat, Pampanga on Tuesday (Sept 27), President Duterte apologized for the drug matrix lapses due to the lack of “counter-checking.”

”I would like to apologize to you publicly. I am sorry,” Duterte said, referring to Espino, provincial board member Raul Sison, and former Pangasinan provincial administrator Rafael Baraan.

Lacson said that an intelligence report must be treated as “confidential,” even as a “secret” or “top Secret” document, depending on its security classification.

“…The President or any official making a classified document public is ill-advised and will not serve the purpose for which it was prepared,” Lacson said.

“A narco-list, just like an Order of Battle, is a product of an intelligence workshop and is disseminated only to personnel with the corresponding security clearance,” he added.

The senator said that making it public would not only warn those in the list and jeopardize any ongoing intelligence operations but would also unnecessarily shame them or put their lives at risk.

He further said that it would also be unfair to those who may not be correctly tagged as committing the wrongdoings as described in the intelligence document.

Moreover, he stated that the former reliability of that list and all other narco-lists including other sectors for that matter have now become “doubtful.”

Senator Leila de Lima, in a separate interview, said that the public apology made by the President as “clear admission that there is really nothing in that ridiculous drug matrix” that linked her to the illegal drug trade.

De Lima said that it was “tragic” that the President has been fed lies and wrong information and listened to rumors and intrigues.

The former Justice Secretary meanwhile questioned anew the reliability of the information supplied by the Philippine National Police (PNP) from barangay captains in its “Operation Tokhang.”

“If this is the kind of information fed to the President, how reliable is the information fed to the PNP by barangay captains in Operation Tokhang? What does that tell us about barangay captains’ lists of drug pushers and addicts who are subjected to Tokhang and vigilante assassinations based on said lists, if Intel provided the President himself is prone to mistakes?” De Lima said.

The lady senator meanwhile raised the possibility that there were “forces” surrounding the President who knew how mad he was at her for investigating on the alleged killings done by the so-called vigilante group, Davao Death Squad (DDS).