Pubdate: Mon, 08 Aug 2016
Source: San Francisco Chronicle (CA)
Copyright: 2016 Associated Press


MANILA (AP) - Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte publicly linked 
more than 150 judges, mayors, lawmakers, police and military 
personnel to illegal drugs Sunday, ordering them to surrender for 
investigation as he ratcheted up his bloody war against what he calls 
a "pandemic."

Duterte relieved members of the military and police he named from 
their posts and ordered government security personnel to be withdrawn 
from politicians he identified in a nationally televised speech. He 
also ordered gun licenses of those named revoked.

"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," Duterte said in the speech at a 
military camp in southern Davao city.

He said that the list of politicians, judges and law officers given 
to him by the military and police might or might not be true, but 
that he had a duty to disclose to the public how the drug problem had 
become so pervasive.

"There is no due process in my mouth," 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, which Duterte said included some friends, did not 
contain details of the officials' alleged involvement to the drug 
trade or offer any evidence.

They included eight judges, as well as five retired and current 
generals. The rest were mostly town mayors and police officers. One 
retired general, Vicente Loot, has been previously named in public by 
Duterte and has denied any wrongdoing.

"It's a pandemic," said Duterte, a former mayor of Davao, where he 
built a reputation for his crime-busting style that allegedly 
involved extrajudicial killings.

Duterte's latest move raises the stakes in his war on drugs, which 
already has left more than 400 suspected dealers and pushers dead and 
more than 4,400 arrested in more than a month since he took office. 
Nearly 600,000 people have surrendered to authorities, hoping to 
avoid getting killed.

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 Duterte has dismissed their 
concerns and has openly threatened to kill crime suspects, assuring 
law officers that he would defend them if they face lawsuits while 
battling criminality.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom