The Court of Appeals had last June 11, ordered the government to remove the name of Leyte 3rd district Rep. Vicente Veloso III from President Rodrigo Duterte’s so-called narco list.
A resolution by the court’s former Special Eighth Division ordered the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, the Philippine National Police, the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency and the Department of Interior and Local Government to scrap “documents, records and information pertaining to the petitioner’s inclusion in the narco list.”
It added: “They are further ordered to rectify the said narco list and delete the name of the petitioner. They are also enjoined from further including the petitioner’s name in any publicized derogatory list that fails to follow due process.”
The CA granted Veloso the writ of habeas data, which protects against the violation of privacy in life, liberty or security, among others; however, it clarified that this would not prevent the government from filing criminal complaints against him—as long as they have evidence, “which should have done to begin with as a matter of due process.”
Duterte last March 2019 revealed a so-called narco list, which named a total of 46 politicians whom he alleged were involved in the country’s illegal drug trade. The list, which included three congressmen, was provided to him by government agencies he claimed to trust. Furthermore, these names are part of a longer list compiled by the PDEA which stands at 82 items long.
He bared their identities on national television shortly before the midterm elections that year, but denied that it was a move meant to sabotage their electoral campaigns.
The PNP in response said that they had no record of Veloso’s inclusion in the list while the police force’s Directorate for Intelligence told the appellate court that the congressman was not a subject of any report.