Philippine leader links 150 judges and politicians to drugs
Published 07/08/2016 | 06:56
President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines publicly linked more than 150 judges, mayors, politicians and military personnel to illegal drugs.
He revoked their gun licences and asked them to surrender for investigation after identifying them in a nationally televised speech early on Sunday.
The president promptly fired the members of the military and police he named and shamed, and ordered government security personnel to be withdrawn from the politicians.
Mr Duterte's latest move ratchets up his war against drugs, which has already left more than 400 suspected dealers and pushers dead and more than 4,400 arrested in a month since he took office.
Nearly 600,000 people have surrendered to authorities.
He said he will take full responsibility if any of those he named turns out to be innocent.
In a speech at a military camp in southern Davao city, Mr Duterte said: "All military and police who are attached to these people, I'm giving you 24 hours to report to your mother unit or I will whack you. I'll dismiss you from the service."
He said that the list of politicians, judges and law enforcers given to him by the military and police might or might not be true, but he had a duty to disclose to the public how the drugs problem had become so pervasive.
"There is no due process in my mouth," Mr Duterte said. "You can't stop me and I'm not afraid even if you say that I can end up in jail."
The list of names included eight judges, five retired and current generals while the rest were mostly town mayors and police officers.
The crackdown has been one of the biggest and bloodiest in the Philippines' recent history and has alarmed human rights groups and the dominant Roman Catholic Church.
But Mr Duterte has dismissed their concerns and has openly threatened to kill crime suspects and assured law enforcers he would defend them if they face lawsuits while battling criminality.
"I would like to say now, they will never go to prison, not under my watch," he said.