INTERIOR and Local Government Secretary Ismael Sueno yesterday vowed da swift yet fair probe of local government officials named by President Duterte as involved in the illegal drugs trade.
Sueno said he already instructed the Department’s Legal, Legislative and Liaison Service (LLLS) Acting Director Atty. Edward Justine Orden to prioritize the probe of these “narco-politicos.”
As promised, Duterte made public early morning yesterday the names of the 26 incumbent and former mayors and a former vice mayor linked to drugs.
The list included police, military personnel and judges.
According to Orden, conducting a case-build up against one alleged narco-politician should not take a year to do.
“As I see it they may be charged with grave misconduct. In the first offense, it is already punishable with dismissal from service,” he added.
Orden added: “Kung aatasan tayo ng Pangulo na maging complainant, we can do that, and after gathering the pieces of evidence, we will file the cases to the Office of the Ombudsman.”
Sueno stressed that if the concerned local officials are provincial elective and city elective officials who are under the DILG’s administrative jurisdiction, the Department can immediately commence the inquiry after it is authorized by the Office of the President.
The DILG, he added., may use reports and available evidence against local chief executives (LCEs).
On the other hand, if the suspected narco-politicians to be named belong either to the municipal government or barangay government, Sueno said their respective higher sanggunians will have administrative jurisdiction over them or in both instances the Office of the Ombudsman.
The public need not worry about disruption of public services should their local elective officials be placed under investigation.
Local chief executives who are under investigation can still perform their duties unless they are told by the courts or if they are placed under preventive suspension during the investigation of the case.
“If that would be the case, then the rule of succession will be followed,” Sueno said.