Politicians in narco list seeking travel abroad arouses suspicions: PDEA
Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Director General Aaron Aquino on Wednesday said it will be suspicious if politicians in the government’s narco list will leave the country without permission from the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).
“First, we will be suspicious on why they are going abroad because we are now working with the Anti-Money Laundering Council and the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission,” said Aquino in a radio interview.
“They are handling the financial investigation against all the narco-politicians so it will be suspicious on why they are going out. Do they have an authority?” he added.
The PDEA chief said those 46 names in the list should seek permission from the DILG if they will leave the country.
Aquino made the statement after Sinacaban, Misamis Occidental Mayor Crisinciano Mahilac, one of the 46 politicians named by President Rodrigo Duterte in the drug list, went out of the country with his family and is expected to return after two days.
According to the Bureau of Immigration, they questioned Mahilac but allowed him to leave after they found he has no “derogatory record”.
If he was allowed, Aquino said Mahilac should not violate any law when he went out of the country.
“Otherwise, he may face another administrative charges. We should found out if in the first place he is authorized to go out of the country and if there is violation,” he said.
Aquino added one of the violations of politicians is going to a place different from the one they cited when seeking permission to leave.
“If he is only authorized for two days and he exceeded or conduct side tri,p these are all violations,” said Aquino.
In a text message to The Daily Manila Shimbun, DILG spokesperson Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said the rule on foreign travel depends on the nature of the trip and its duration.
“Based on the Local Government Code, if travel is official and uses public funds, the travel of a municipal mayor must have the approval of both the Governor and the DILG. If it’s a personal travel, does not use public funds, and not exceeding three months, only the approval of the governor is necessary,” Malaya explained.
“Mayor Mahilac must comply with these rules to be able to travel abroad unless he is prevented to do so by a DOJ (Department of Justice) or court issues a hold departure order,” he added.
In 2017, news reports said Mahilac and his partner become controversial for alleged lavish lifestyle. Ella Dionisio/DMS