The Philippines′ President Duterte threatens officials with ties to drug trade | News | DW | 07.08.2016
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The Philippines' President Duterte threatens officials with ties to drug trade

The president has dismissed "due process," calling on the armed forces to hunt down the more than 150 suspects if they do not surrender. The list included judges, mayors, local officials and military personnel.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday linked more than 150 judges, mayors, lawmakers, police and military personnel to the illicit drug trade, which he described as a "pandemic."

At least eight judges, 95 police and military personnel, and 50 current and former officials were named by the president.

The listed suspects have 24 hours to surrender to authorities "or else, I will order the entire armed forces of the Philippines to hunt you," said Duterte during a speech at a military camp in the city of Davao. He immediately revoked gun licenses held by those listed.

"There is no due process in my mouth," he said. "You can't stop me and I'm not afraid even if you say that I can end up in jail."

While he admitted that it is possible some of the suspects are not guilty, he said it was his duty to expose how the drug trade is deeply entrenched in Philippine life.

Presidential spokesman Martin Andanar later said that prosecutors will file cases against those named by Duterte.

"The president is encouraging all of the persons of interest, the alleged drug lords and drug coddlers to come out in the open, to surrender themselves to thorough investigation," Andanar said.

Since being sworn in on June 30, Duterte has launched a brutal war on drugs, leaving more than 400 suspected dealers and pushers dead, while more than 4,400 people have been arrested over their connections to the trade.

Nearly 600,000 people have surrendered to authorities, many of them drug dealers and users fearing for their lives, after the president called on police to use lethal action against them if they failed to turn themselves in.

ls/rc (AP, AFP, dpa)

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