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PNP probes if any poll winners are on drugs list.

By Martin Sadongdong

The Philippine National Police (PNP) today disclosed that over 90,000 candidates for the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections 2018 have been proclaimed winners nationwide but probe is underway for those who are included in the drugs watch list.

PNP chief Director General Oscar Albayalde, in a press briefing at the National Election Monitoring and Action Center (NEMAC) at Camp Crame, said that they would conduct a case build-up if there are candidates in the drugs watch list who were among the 92,756 proclaimed winners as of Tuesday morning.

"We will check this one by one if they have involvement in any illegal drug activities," Albayalde said.

As of this writing, the PNP chief said he has already ordered the Police Drug Enforcement Group (PDEG) and the regional drug enforcement units to look into the profile of the proclaimed winners and determine if they are in the watch list.

Once validated, Albayalde said they will conduct a case build-up against the proclaimed winners who are in the watch list.

"If needed, we can always conduct a 'Tokhang' (knock and plead) operation. They are not entitled to some kind of protection even if they win in the elections," he explained.

"If they want to surrender as early as now, better. But like what I've said, they can always subject themselves for adjudication. If they don't, then we can always conduct an operation," he added.

Albayalde said they will be in close coordination with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILH) and National Youth Commission (NYC) in the said validation.

"Our intelligence gathering will play a vital role because the PDEA cannot do it alone. They rely so much on us in terms of evidence and intelligence gathering," he. said.

He, however, stated they will not involve the Commission on Election (Comelec) anymore since their participation has been "finished" upon the proclamation of the winners.

Winning candidate in narco-list

In a related development, a candidate in Baguio City reportedly won as a barangay kagawad despite being included in the PDEA's drugs watch list.

According to a report, one Jomarc Pabunan garnered a total of 187 votes, enough for him to be declared as a second kagawad in Barangay Lower Magsaysay, Baguio.

Pabunan and another candidate reportedly got the same number of votes and the two had to pick who will be the top kagawad.

The kagawad in the narco-list reportedly got the second top spot in the village.

Chief Superintendent John Bulalacao, PNP spokesperson, told the Manila Bulletin that Pabunan is among the "subjects" of police for case build-up.

"Kasama sya sa mga subjects ng police for case build up. In the event na makakuha ang police ng physical evidence against him, makakapagfile na ng case ang police against the elected official in Baguio (He is among the subjects of case build-up by the police. In the event that the police gather physical evidence against him, a case can be filed against that elected official in Baguio City)," Bulalacao said.

Due process

Meanwhile, Albayalde reiterated that winning candidates who will be found to be included in the watch list will be given due process as the PNP conducts its investigation.

A few days before the elections, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) released a "validated" drugs watch list where at least 216 baranggay officials were included in it.


PNP chief Director Gen. Oscar Albayalde, speaks during a press conferecne about the recently concluded Barangay and SK Election 2018, at the PNP National Election Monitoring Center (NEMAC) at Camp Crame in Quezon City, May 15 2018. (Mark Balmores/Manila Bulletin)
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Title Annotation:National
Publication:Manila Bulletin
Geographic Code:9PHIL
Date:May 15, 2018
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