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Gov't info on narcopoliticians should only serve as leads, not for publication —IBP lawyer

Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) president Abdiel Dan Fajardo said on Thursday that the government's information on supposed narcopoliticians in the country should primarily serve as leads for investigations, and not for the publication of a list of names without evidence.

"Maging lead na lang sana, maging batayan na lang muna sa imbestigasyon at hindi 'yung sa publication ng isang imputation ng isang offense na posibleng hindi maging totoo dahil ang ginamit na basis ay wiretapped conversations," Fajardo said in an interview on GMA News TV's Balitanghali.

He added that if no official investigations will be conducted and no evidence will be gathered independent of the intelligence information, the narcolist would be premature and would only destroy reputation of individuals.

One recourse of those whose names will appear in the said list is to file a libel case based on the Revised Penal Code, the lawyer said.

Further, Fajardo expressed his misgivings about the claim that the list was based on "wiretapped information" provided by foreign governments to the Philippines.

"'Yung ating sariling pamahalaan ay hindi pwedeng mag-wiretap unless nagpaalam sa korte. Kailangan po makumbinsi 'yung korte muna na kailangan ito for national security bago ka pahintulutan," he said.

"Kung hindi pwede sa ating sariling pamahalaan, may provision po na hindi pwede dapat mangialam yung ibang bansa," he added, noting that he doubts the other countries will admit that they wiretapped private conversations in the Philippines.

Moreover, he said that the government must learn to strike a balance in safeguarding both the citizens' right to privacy and their right to information.

Meanwhile, Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo on Thursday clarified his claim regarding wiretapped information provided by foreign governments.

He said that his previous statement was based on "logic" and "educated guess."

Panelo admitted that he used the wrong word and added that the information on the narcolist may have come from drug surrenderers and arrested drug suspects.

The government plans to release the narcolist next week, drawing mixed reactions from various sectors. —Dona Magsino/ LDF, GMA News