VERA FILES FACT CHECK: The ‘foolproof’ narco-list


PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte on Monday said he would never be “foolish” enough to commit errors on his narco-lists. The next day, he apologized to public officials he wrongly linked to illegal drugs — the mistake done either through “negligence” or in bad faith.

STATEMENT: On Sept. 26, the president said care should be exercised when vetting intelligence reports because they could ruin one’s reputation.

Gracing the oath-taking of Malacanang Press Corps, Malacanang Cameramen Association and Presidential Photojournalist Association, Duterte said:

“You know when you go in public and mention the name of a person because he’s involved in drugs, you practically destroy his life forever. That’s the reason why bakit ganon katagal. Hindi ako kasi pareho sa inyo, hangal, na pag may report nandiyan, bira nang bira.”

(Source: Oath Taking of MPC, MCA and PPA. Watch from 21:07-21:26)

FLIP-FLOP: The day after, during his inspection at the site of suspected shabu laboratory in Arayat, Pampanga, Duterte said there had been gaps in counter-checking intelligence reports, even if he personally validated the drug matrix four times.

He then cleared the names of former Pangasinan Governor Amado Espino, provincial administrator Rafael Baraan and provincial board member Raul Sison:

“Insofar as the drugs, I think that somehow we were negligent in counter-checking during the first report. So kay Espino, and even to Sison at kay Baraan, yung kapatid, huwag yung Undersecretary, sabit talaga yun sa Bilibid. I would like to apologize to you publicly. I would say now, i am very sorry. Trabaho ko yan, part of my territory, I cannot be perfect, sometimes, you are correct when you say that life is never fair.”

There’s a gap that cannot be explained why Espino’s name is there, Duterte said.

It could be that Espino and Baraan were included on the list due to their involvement in black sand mining, but the connection to drugs could not be “stretched further.”

“So I think that kung meron man, it is either intriga, tsismis, or it was purposely done without really checking the validity of the (claim),” Duterte said.

(Source: President Rody Duterte inspects the mega shabu laboratory in Pampanga. Watch from 10:48-14:04)

Before leaving for his state visit in Vietnam on Sept. 28, Duterte announced he will be releasing a new list of about 1,000 names, including lawmakers, local executives, barangay officials, and members of the judiciary and the military.

At least 50 local government officials allegedly involved in the drug trade are being investigated by the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), National Police Commission (Napolcom) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) under Task Force Agila.

The number is based on the listing released by the president, said DILG Undersecretary John Castriciones, who heads the task force, in a media briefing on Thursday.

“It’s the president’s list. It’s not our list. We’re just responding to the mandate given to the DILG that we have to investigate and make the necessary recommendations for the filing of cases against these people,” he said.