He has named police generals reportedly serving as protectors of drug lords and ordered mayors involved in the illegal drug trade to surrender. This time, President Rodrigo Duterte’s will train his guns on bigger drug targets: lawmaker and judges.
In his visit to Camp Lapu-Lapu in Cebu City late Friday, Duterte said his next move will be to expose high government officials also involved in drugs including some congressmen, judges and police officers.
The President said he plans to release his drug list “in the next few hours or days,” saying that the whole nation is “entitled to know what is happening in the country.”
Duterte was expected to name the 27 “narco-politicians” on Friday but he did not.
“If I read the names now, which I will in a few hours, few days, there are judges, police, congressmen. It’s not because I want to ruin their reputation. But it behooves upon me, I have the obligation to tell the Filipino people what is happening to this country,” Duterte said.
“When I am here, I am the President. I have to do something. I have to do it because nobody is going to do it for us,” he added.
Duterte said those on the list, even the top officials, will not be exempt from his “shoot to kill” order if they resist arrest.
The President early this week ordered Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr. and his son Kerwin to surrender or they will be shot on sight. The mayor surrendered to Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa on Thursday but his son Kerwin remains at large.
On Friday, two more mayors surrendered—Mayor Mamaulan Abinal Molok of Maguing town in Lanao del Sur and Mayor Rasul Sangki of Ampatuan, Maguindanao. Former mayor Ali Abinal of Marantao town in Lanao del Sur also turned himself in.
Duterte said Espinosa was lucky to have surrendered.
“The Albuera mayor, good thing he reached Bato. I had an order to shoot him on sight like a dog because he is treating the people of this country like dogs. Our children have become witless,” the President said.
The two operated under a certain “Marimar” and distributed narcotics in Quiapo, Dela Rosa said Molok and Abinal operated under a certain “Marimar” and distributed drugs in Manila, Caloocan and Cavite from 2000 to 2002.
The President warned those on his drug list to choose a different vice or face death.
He vowed to maintain his “shoot-to-kill” order against drug dealers while in office and says he “does not care about human rights.”
About 800 people have been killed since Duterte won a landslide election in May.
“This campaign (of) shoot-to-kill will remain until the last day of my term if I’m still alive by then,” he told reporters in Davao.
“I don’t care about human rights, believe me,” he added.
He said government officials who use their positions to engage in a trade that wrecks the lives of many Filipinos were first on his list.
Duterte said he was also offering soldiers and police his “official and personal guarantee” of immunity from prosecution for killings undertaken in the performance of their duties.
The president dismissed critics’ suggestions some of the 402 suspects whose killings have been acknowledged by the police were “salvaged,” the local police term for summary execution.
Hundreds of others have been killed by suspected vigilantes, according to unofficial tallies.
The UN anti-drugs office on Wednesday joined international rights organizations in condemning the rash of killings.
“The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime remains greatly concerned by the reports of extrajudicial killing of suspected drug dealers and users in the Philippines,” its executive director Yury Fedotov said in a statement.
“I join the United Nations secretary general in condemning the apparent endorsement of extrajudicial killing, which is illegal and a breach of fundamental rights and freedoms,” Fedotov added.
In June, UN chief Ban Ki-moon strongly condemned Duterte’s apparent support of extrajudicial killings.
But Duterte lashed back at his critics.
“These NGOs (non-governmental organizations) that are complaining to the United Nations, this is none of their business,” he retorted.
“I’m waging a war. I am now invoking the articles of war.”
Duterte said he had no fear the anti-crime campaign would cause his impeachment and removal from office.
“The Filipino is crying for justice” from crimes committed by drug dependents, he said.
Police say more than 500,000 people have surrendered to the local authorities and pledged to stop using illegal drugs.