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Philippines President names 157 politicians, judges and security personnel linked to illegal drugs

By News Express on 07/08/2016

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Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has publicly named 157 politicians, judges and security personnel suspected of links to illegal drugs.

He read the list out loud Sunday at a wake for soldiers killed in recent fighting with communist insurgents in southern Davao City, which transformed from a crime-filled city to a bustling business hub during the 22 years Duterte served as its mayor.

GMA News quoted him saying that the named officials’ involvement in the illegal drug trade “might be true or it might not be true”, underlining that they had rights under the constitution and were presumed innocent until proven otherwise.

A total of 57 politicians, seven judges and 93 soldiers and police were on the list – among them incumbent mayors in northern Luzon island, the central Visayas islands and southern Mindanao island, including majority Muslim provinces.

“My mouth, there’s no ‘due process’ here,” Duterte said, stressing that it was his sworn duty to inform the public.

He also underlined that he would assume full responsibility if anyone was mistakenly included in the list.

The president ordered security personnel assigned to provide security for alleged narco-politicians to report to their superiors within 24 hours, and “narco-cops” to do likewise to Philippine National Police headquarters and judges to the Supreme Court.

The implicated officials were ordered to turn in their weapons to the national police in 24 hours as their firearm licenses had been revoked.

Last week, a mayor suspected of involvement in illegal drugs surrendered to authorities after Duterte gave him and his son just 24 hours to turn themselves in or be “shot on sight”.

Police later revealed that six people – including “hitmen” of the “Espinosa drug group” – were killed in raids at homes connected to Albuera town Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr. and his son Kerwin – who was reportedly abroad, either in Singapore or Malaysia.

GMA reported Sunday afternoon that at least three mayors and a judge included on Duterte’s list had turned up at national police headquarters.

Despite growing concerns from local and global organisations, the president has said he does not care about the rising death toll of his administration's campaign against drugs.

According to police figures, more than 400 drug suspects have been killed while nearly 600,000 others have surrendered since July 1 following Duterte’s inauguration.

A Senate resolution has been filed calling for an investigation into the surge in killings of suspected drug dealers and users both by police and unidentified gunmen.

The inquiry was called by Sen. Leila De Lima, a former justice secretary and Commission on Human Rights chair, who once probed Duterte’s alleged links to a vigilante death squad in Davao.

During his first State of the Nation address July 25, Duterte said that the government would not stop until “the last drug lord, the last financier, and the last pusher had surrendered or [been] put behind bars or below the ground”.

Duterte, however, has also said he will be “sensitive to the State’s obligations to promote, and protect, fulfill the human rights of our citizens, especially the poor, the marginalised and the vulnerable.” (Anadolu Agency)

•Photo shows Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte.

Source News Express

Posted 07/08/2016 4:51:13 PM


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