Pubdate: Mon, 08 Aug 2016
Source: New York Times (NY)
Copyright: 2016 The New York Times Company
Author: Felipe Villamor


MANILA - The Philippines' new president, Rodrigo Duterte, on Sunday 
publicly accused scores of judges, mayors, lawmakers, military 
personnel and police officers of involvement with the illegal drug 
trade, giving them 24 hours to surrender for investigation or, he 
said, be "hunted" down.

Mr. Duterte rejected calls last week from international human rights 
groups to observe due process in the war he has declared on both 
sellers and users of illicit drugs, after a photograph of a drug user 
shot and killed by vigilantes made it to the front pages and became a 
symbol for the bloody antidrug campaign.

"I ordered the listing. I ordered the validation," he said Sunday in 
a nationally televised speech at a naval base, referring to the 
roughly 150 people he mentioned by name. "I'm the one reading it, and 
I am the sole person responsible for these all."

He said the accused "are hereby ordered relieved" of their duties, 
and he indicated that he was only fulfilling a campaign promise to be 
harsh. Some of those on his list are local politicians whom he said 
he knew personally. He also said the officials and others on his list 
should no longer be allowed to have permits for guns and other weapons.

"I'm ordering the national police chief to lift police supervision 
and cancel any and all private arms that are licensed to these mayors 
I mentioned," he said. "They are all canceled. Go out naked to the 
world and show how crooked you are."

"All of you judges or whatever, you report to the Supreme Court," Mr. 
Duterte added. "Policemen, you report to the police chief. And army, 
to the chief of staff."

"You do not do that, I will order the armed forces of the Philippines 
and the entire P.N.P. to hunt for you," he said, using the initials 
of the Philippine National Police.

He did not say what evidence he had used as a basis for his 
accusations, acknowledging that "it might be true, it might not be 
true." But in response to groups that had cautioned him not to 
trample on individuals' rights, he said that if those he named were 
charged in court, they would receive due process.

"Due process has nothing to do with my mouth," Mr. Duterte said. 
"There are no proceedings here, no lawyers."

He said he wanted the Philippine people, especially those who voted 
for him in May, to know what was happening in the country. And he 
insisted that he did not care what the people would say, daring 
politicians critical of him to remove him from office.

"It's very important for the people to know the state of things or 
conditions in this country," he said. "That is my sworn duty."

The president contended, as he had before, that drug abuse and the 
drug trade were "pandemic" in the Philippines. He said the nation's 
Drug Enforcement Agency had estimated that 3 percent of the 
population, or three million of the 100 million Filipinos, were 
addicted to drugs and that 92 percent of villages in metropolitan 
Manila had been "contaminated with drug use."

He also claimed that as many as 600,000 people were both using and 
selling drugs.

Mr. Duterte promised police officers that he would have their back if 
they faced human rights charges in connection with carrying out his 
antidrug campaign.

He recalled that when he was mayor of the southern city of Davao, his 
standing order to the police was to be quick on the draw and shoot 
suspects on sight.

"I told police then that I will kick them if they are writhing in 
pain if I see them get shot," he said. "Why were you beaten to the 
draw? That ain't the way. Illegal? No, of course not."

In the month since Mr. Duterte took office, more than 400 people 
suspected of dealing drugs have been killed, either by the police or 
by vigilantes. About 600,000 people have surrendered to the police.

In a statement issued after Mr. Duterte's speech, Franklin M. Drilon, 
the president pro tempore of the Senate, said, "I strongly support 
President Duterte's antidrug campaign, but due process and the rule 
of law must be dutifully upheld."

"I urged the president that if there is evidence that these officials 
were involved in the drug trade, he should immediately charge them 
administratively or in court," Mr. Drilon said. "There should be no shortcuts."
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom