By Macon Araneta i FilAm Star Correspondent

Sen. Panfilo Lacson said Malacañang’s claim that the information on the narco list, containing the names of some candidates in the upcoming elections, allegedly based on wiretaps by foreign governments was wrong.

“It doesn’t make things right —  unless those who conducted the wiretap were armed with judicial authorization,” said Lacson.

In this case, he said the proceeds should have been used as evidence in court as it has strong probative and evidentiary value to prosecute the personalities involved.

“Is the administration admitting to be complicit in the commission of a crime by foreign governments? Is it now a government policy to condone invasion of privacy of its own nationals by China, Israel, and the United States?” said the former PNP chief.

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said the information has no value at all. He said It cannot be used as evidence, having been obtained illegally.

“In law, such ‘wiretapped’ information is the ‘fruit of the poisonous tree’ not admissible as evidence,” also said Drilon, who served as justice secretary.

Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III said the Comelec cannot prevent those on the narco list from running in the upcoming May elections.

Photo: Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III (Senate of the Philippines Official Facebook Page)

He noted that “being on a list, even a narco list” is not a recognized legal ground for disqualifying candidates. He said these candidates are all presumed innocent until proven guilty.

“If the government has included them in a list because it was convinced by evidence of their involvement in the narcotics trade, then it is government’s duty now to file charges against them using the evidence which made them land in the said list,” insisted Pimentel.

For his part, Sen. Win Gatchalian said the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) should file appropriate charges to bar politicians in the narco list from joining the up and coming elections.

“Shaming them can only do so much. They have the money and local relationships that will ensure their victory. The best strategy is to remove them legally through the proper courts,” he said.

As this developed, Sen. Nancy Binay  urged the interior and justice departments to file cases against politicians in the narco list instead of just publicly naming them in the list.

She added that those in the list should be afforded their Constitutional rights.
Binay also reminded the DILG and other government agencies to be careful in validating and vetting the list.

The re-electionist Senator also warned that the list could be used to shame candidates for the May elections.