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Idadamay kami! Villarin expects gov’t critics to be tagged in drugs

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By Xave Gregorio

Akbayan party-list Rep. Tom Villarin, a member of the opposition Magnificent 7 bloc of the House of Representatives, expects that critics of the government would be accused of involvement in the illegal drugs trade, as the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) is set to reveal another “narco list” containing 91 names of politikos, including six or seven congressmen.

“Again as we will expect, people speaking up to criticize the government’s drug war will be lumped together with drug lords and personalities,” Villarin said in a text message to House reporters.

He was reacting to a GMA News Online article quoting PDEA Director General Aaron Aquino saying that six or seven congressmen are included in the narco list, currently undergoing re-validation.

Aquino said the PDEA would release the list if President Rodrigo Duterte orders them to do so.

The drug agency has released last April a list of 207 barangay officials allegedly involved in illegal drugs trade.

“Wala silang pakialam kung kakampi ka pa ng administrasyon o hindi. Basta’t ikaw na-involved sa illegal drugs alam naman natin ang Presidente,” Aquino reportedly said.

But Villarin said the politikos in the list should be sued first before their names are revealed, which is “tantamount to declaring them guilty unless proven innocent.”

“Cases should be filed first against concerned solons and others in the list. Regardless of status in life, people should be accorded due process and the rule of law which have been continuously violated in President Duterte’s deadly war on drugs that claimed thousands of lives and families traumatized,” he said.

Opposition Senator Leila de Lima, who spearheaded probes into Duterte’s alleged hand in the Davao Death Squad, was slapped with drug charges last year and is still detained in the Philippine National Police Custodial Center in Camp Crame.

De Lima and her camp maintains the charges, which have been changed from drug trading to conspiracy to commit drug trading, are trumped up.