Surrender, Duterte tells judges, officials 'linked' to drug trade

Ms Rasmiya Macabago, former mayor of Saguiaran, Lanao del Sur, and Mr Cipriano Violago, mayor of San Rafael, Bulacan, are among more than 160 politicians, judges and policemen said by the Philippine President to be linked to the drug trade.
Ms Rasmiya Macabago, former mayor of Saguiaran, Lanao del Sur, and Mr Cipriano Violago, mayor of San Rafael, Bulacan, are among more than 160 politicians, judges and policemen said by the Philippine President to be linked to the drug trade.PHOTOS: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY
Ms Rasmiya Macabago, former mayor of Saguiaran, Lanao del Sur, and Mr Cipriano Violago, mayor of San Rafael, Bulacan, are among more than 160 politicians, judges and policemen said by the Philippine President to be linked to the drug trade.
Ms Rasmiya Macabago, former mayor of Saguiaran, Lanao del Sur, and Mr Cipriano Violago, mayor of San Rafael, Bulacan, are among more than 160 politicians, judges and policemen said by the Philippine President to be linked to the drug trade.PHOTOS: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has named more than 160 politicians, judges and policemen said to be linked to the narcotics trade, and ordered them to surrender or be hunted down.

During a visit to an army base in his southern home city of Davao yesterday, Mr Duterte read out the names of those he said had "destroyed the country". The list included nine judges and more than 50 serving and former mayors, vice-mayors, congressmen and other government officials.

He also identified about 100 retired or active police officers and soldiers who he said were involved in the drug trade, and relieved them of duty.

"If you show the slightest violence in the resistance, I will tell the police, 'Shoot them'," he said.

Those who are soldiers and police should immediately surrender to their superiors, while judges should report to the Supreme Court, he added. He also cancelled the firearms licences of those he named.

"This is not personal to me. I am not your enemy. I don't have ill feelings towards you. But I am angry now," Mr Duterte said, addressing those on his list. He also said he would take full responsibility for what happens after his disclosure.

Hours later, two mayors - Mr Cipriano Violago of San Rafael, Bulacan, and Mr Martin de Guzman of Bauang, La Union - and a former mayor of Saguiaran, Lanao del Sur, Ms Rasmiya Macabago, turned themselves in to police, but denied any involvement in the drug trade.

One of the judges named turned out to have been dead for eight years. He was killed in 2008 by an assailant hired by a drug kingpin in his province, his family insisted.

Another person on the list, identified as a lawmaker, meanwhile, had never been in Congress. But he had been a political consultant of one of the alleged "narco-mayors".

Some 800 people have been killed since Mr Duterte won a landslide election on May 9.

Last Friday, he stood firm on his "shoot-to-kill" order against drug dealers, and said he "does not care about human rights".

"This campaign (of) shoot-to-kill will remain until the last day of my term if I'm still alive by then," the 71-year-old told a news conference. "I don't care about human rights, believe me." Raul Dancel

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 08, 2016, with the headline 'Surrender, Duterte tells judges, officials 'linked' to drug trade'. Print Edition | Subscribe