Pimentel says charges must be filed to all barangay leaders linked in illegal drugs

Senate President Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III insisted charges must be filed against all barangay officials included in the narco-list of President Rodrigo Duterte. His statements were made when the suggestion to move postpone the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataang elections for this year.

"Itong oras na makukuha natin by postponing the barangay elections, dapat kumilos ang Executive branch at kasuhan lahat ng mga barangay officials na nandoon sa drug list,"

"Tapos succession rules na lang. Kung si kapitan ang tinanggal natin because of involvement in drugs, si first kagawad ang aakyat bilang kapitan," he added.

There are several barangay officials in the narco-list of Duterte, wherein 40 percent of barangay chairmans are involved in illegal drug activies.

Earlier, the President made a statement suggesting that it would be better if he himself appoint barangay chairmans instead of proceeding to the elections on October.

In the House of Representatives committee on suffrage and electoral reforms on August 14, majority of the House members approved that will postpone barangay and SK elections from October 2017 to May 2018.

Out of 21`members, 19 affirmed on the measure while 2 – ACT Teachers party list Representative Antonio Tinio and Gabriela party list Representative Arlene Brosas – voted against it.

Meanwhile, Pimentel said that they will carefully studry Duterte's recent pronouncement on his preference to just appoint barangay leaders without elections.

"Pagaralan natin. Kasi we do not just dismiss immediately the proposal. We do not accept immediatley the proposal. Kailangan pagaralan kasi 42000 barangays will be affected," Pimentel said.

On Thursday, Duterte said he is finding alternatives in changing barangay leaders without calling for elections.

"It’s a bit messy. Kasi kapag tinanggal mo rin ang mga gagong ito, magsigawan—we are looking for a way to appoint nalang the barangay captains," he said in press conference at the airport terminal shortly after his arrival from Myanmar and Thailand.

"But ang mechanism to go about it—ako, you know the President has always the power to appoint. But I am going to compromise with the Church and everybody. They can nominate three citizens," he added.

If his preference will be OK'ed by the Congress, Duterte said appointees will first have to pass the tests provided by the security and intelligence groups. But in case it will not pursue, he urged Filipinos to vote wisely for their leaders given that almost half of the entire barangay chiefs are linked to drugs.

"Kaya kayong mga Pilipino, be sure to elect kasi ‘di ko kaya kung ako lang. Wala akong panahon na patayin silang lahat. Tulungan ninyo na ako na ano, iyong next ano, be careful. Be careful with drugs, pera iyan eh," he said.

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