Manila: Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte vowed has to name over the weekend 1,000 more local leaders involved in illegal drug trade in the Philippines, raising to almost 2,000 the number of people he has shamed in public ahead of the filing of charges against them.
“The new list shows that 1,000 village captains, governors, judges, lawmakers, policemen are into the illegal drugs trade,” said Duterte in a meeting with military men he has assigned to help police battle the Philippines’ drug menace.
“I’m going to make it [report] public. I spoke with Congress and asked them what I will do with this. I can’t take this anymore. Suddenly, they [suspects] felt naked [before me],” said Duterte, adding he asked the intelligence community, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), and the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA) to finalise the list.
“The problem may outlast me. I’m doing this because I’m trying to save the next generation,” explained Duterte, adding the next generation of Filipinos would be compromised and the Philippines would become a “narco state” if tough measures against narcotics are not implemented.
- In late August, former justice secretary and now Senator Leila de Lima, her ex-driver and lover; former justice undersecretary Francisco Baraan; former Bureau of Correction chief Franklin Bucayo; a congressman, a provincial board member and administrator of Pangasinan, northern Luzon were named as protectors of drug lords at the National Bilibid Prison (NBP) in Metro Manila’s suburban Muntinglupa.
- On July 11, names of 23 alleged narco-mayors were released. But the complete list ran into the hundreds, police sources said.
- On July 8, Peter Lim of China’s triad; Peter Co; and Filipino Herbert Colangco were identified as top three drug lords. The last two are allegedly operating while imprisoned at the NBP. Other convicted drug lords imprisoned in other parts of the Philippines have become sources of illegal drugs, the most popular of which is shabu. The complete list was not yet released.
- On July 5, five top-ranking police officers in Metro Manila, Metro Manila’s suburban Quezon City; and in Visayas central Philippines were identified as protectors of drug lords at NBP. Other police protectors in other tainted national penitentiaries nationwide were not yet released.
- Foreign and local rights critics said the announcement of names to shame alleged culprits violated due process. They have also criticised Duterte for the death of 3,000 suspected drug offenders since July. But the police claimed responsibility for half of the killings, and blamed drug syndicates for the rest of the incidents.
- De Lima who is being investigated for alleged drug connections has presented at the Senate on Thursday a suspected executioner of Duterte when he was mayor of Davao City. It renewed calls for his investigation in the killing of 1,000 by the Davao Death Squads in the past.
There are about 3.7 million drug addicts in the Philippines.
Drug cartels from China have been manufacturing shabu in the Philippines. Other drug syndicates from Mexico, West Africa, and Korea have been exporting shabu to the Philippines for distribution in Asia. Illegal drug trade reached $8.4 billion a year in 2013, PDEA said.